Friday, May 20, 2011

Life on Auto-Pilot

Going through chapter two of our textbook, Motivation. Biological, Psychological, and Environmental by Lambert Deckers, the concept of automaticity stood out to me. Our textbook defines automaticity as "automatic processes which refers to external events controlling mental Linkprocesses without a person being aware what events were responsible." Also linking to that is automatic process, which is basically having your life on auto pilot.

This first video I would like to share as evidence to automaticity was found on youtube.

This video shows several images of things people do everyday without really thinking. The alarm clock waking us up at 7:00am, making breakfast and driving someplace, checking or calling someone on our cell phones, and making a cup of coffee at night. What I love about this short video is the way it transitions between all of these different things. The images only appear for a short while and sometimes the images seem to blur together. Because automaticity controls mental processes without us being aware, sometimes our daily routines can blur together and we just complete the tasks without thinking.

Another video I found is a bit comical but it shows the routine of one man.

Did you notice how the video was shot? Instead of doing everything like getting dressed and making his bed, things happened automatically. This is good symbolism for automaticity because it shows no specific event that should trigger any of those actions to happen. In the mornings, do you really think about the events that lead to you getting dressed? Humans have established the norm of getting dressed properly in order to go outside in public and that norm controls our unconscious behavior of getting dressed before leaving our homes. This is a form of automaticity because our unconscious recalls the norm but we do not think of it every time we get dressed.

All this talk about automaticity got me thinking about the music trends recently. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but many popular songs have repetition. One song that has been an internet sensation with 144, 566, 464 views on youtube is "Friday" by Rebecca Black. The link below is the Glee Cast Version of the song with the lyrics in the video. (If anyone is unaware of what Glee is, it is a popular show on the Fox network about a show choir group in high school). I chose to share the Glee Cast version since the vocals (in my opinion) are better then the original.
Glee Cast- Friday

The first verse of this song is very fast and lists things that need to be done. The things listed are part of an automatic process because going to High School every morning is repetitive usually and does not require intensive thought (waking up, eating breakfast and going to the bus stop). The chorus of the song is saying that the kids repeatedly look forward to the weekend so they can 'party' and have 'fun' which is another example of automaticity since they think about it as part of their daily lives.

I always wondered why this song was so popular even though the lyrics are severely lacking, but when I read about automaticity it made more sense. People like having a routine in their lives. This song might be popular because it appeals to having repetition in life.

Automaticity is a concept that I agree with. There are many things I do without realizing it and I only noticed it when I read about automaticity. The videos I found show many things we do without really thinking about them. We get dressed without thinking why specifically, we go to work or school because it is in our routine. Sometimes we can go a whole day without really thinking about what we are doing. It becomes an automatic process and we run on auto pilot.


  1. I can relate to your comment about doing things without realizing; I often drive to work - or some other place familiar - without thinking about the correct route or without taking in the landmarks along the way; I just arrive at my destination seemingly without active thought.

  2. The song Friday is popular because it is so stupid (to say the least) but I do agree with you and your topic. Some times when I leave the house I can't remember if I turned my lights and locked my door. I always do it because it is part of my morning routine, I just can't recall doing it.