Stimulus–response habits benefit behavior by automatizing the selection of rewarding actions. However, this automaticity can come at the cost of reduced flexibility to adapt behavior when circumstances change. The goal-directed system is thought to counteract the habit system by providing the flexibility to pursue context-appropriate behaviors. The dichotomy between habitual action selection and flexible goal-directed behavior has recently been challenged by findings showing that rewards bias both action and goal selection. Here, we test whether reward reinforcement can give rise to habitual goal selection much as it gives rise to habitual action selection. We designed a rewarded, context-based perceptual discrimination task in which performance on one rule was reinforced. Using drift-diffusion models and psychometric analyses, we found that reward facilitates the initiation and execution of rules. Strikingly, we found that these biases persisted in a test phase in which rewards were no longer available. Although this facilitation is consistent with the habitual goal selection hypothesis, we did not find evidence that reward reinforcement reduced cognitive flexibility to implement alternative rules. Together, the findings suggest that reward creates a lasting impact on the selection and execution of goals but may not lead to the inflexibility characteristic of habits. Our findings demonstrate the role of the reward learning system in influencing how the goal-directed system selects and implements goals.

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