We all have habits. Some are useful automatic actions that we can do without thinking about, like pressing the start button on our coffee maker while still half asleep and bleary-eyed. Habitual behavior is routine and automatic, frequently initiated by a cue or change in a situation.
Sometimes, habits don't hold up, like the morning after you buy a new coffee maker with a new button, and have to think about where it is in order to press it. Starting the new coffee maker is a goal-directed action. Goal-directed actions, which are done to seek a reward, require decision making which takes time and energy.
The ability to flexibly switch between the two is an important response strategy, critical for behavior that adapts to situations.
The infralimbic prefrontal...