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The Search for Perfect Performance

Only perfect physical or visualized practice reinforces perfect performance.

Key points

  • Methods of perfect practice are important in teaching, coaching, consulting and personal improvement.
  • Visualiztion is a powerful strategy for the improvement of habits, resulting from perfect visualization and perfect practice.
  • Artificial intelligence can imbed improved performance by providing means of psychovisualization.

It is important to understand the learning psychology of habit development as a power tool in effectively improving performance.

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Habits affect performance.

Psychovisualization is a learning psychology technique that, when applied using artificial intelligence, can improve performance. It plays an important role in habit development, habit correction, and habit replacement.

Attention, focus, and purposeful repetition are primary factors that help the formation of positive habits. The brain itself does not distinguish between real and artificial reality. The differentiation comes from one’s alertness, knowledge, and awareness. Psychovisualization is increasingly used to perfect habit development and to correct deficiencies.

There is now substantial research supporting psychovisualization as a powerful and positive learning psychology tool in developing positive habits. Psychovisualization can be enhanced through specific intent. Another key factor in habit formation is the awareness that practice doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If one practices a skill or behavior incorrectly, it becomes a habit that is very hard to correct. That is why expert coaching and visualizing may be helpful to ensure that what one desires to do is, in fact, done correctly.

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Source: Luskin Internaional with Permission

Psychovisualization can provide critical reinforcement in achieving perfect practice. Peloton trainers, self-driving cars, flight simulators, and marine vessel navigation simulators, are everyday examples of artificial intelligence devices. Recently I experienced the artificial intelligence exhibits at the Shoah Holocaust Museum at USC, and the reality of my experience was life-altering. I also visited the new Marine Science Laboratory at California’s Orange Coast College and virtually navigated a large cargo ship out of Los Angeles Harbor using a marine simulator. Artificial intelligence devices are enabling virtual experiences that are indistinguishable from actual experiences.

Eliminating bad habits and embedding good ones.

The first step in developing a perfect habit is to prepare and follow an intentional habit replacement plan. The objective in habit formation includes planned repetition so that new behaviors become automatic. For example, if you step into your running shoes and head to the streets as soon as you awaken, you may have begun a good habit. If you get on your Peloton bike with a perfect practice video as your guide, you can work on perfecting your routine by following a perfect example. Habits can be good or bad, and habits can be changed through intention and correct practice.


Habit patterns, including those we visualize and repeat with regularity, are literally etched into our neural pathways.

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Source: LuskinInternational, with permission

When synapses fire in the same order again and again, they form detectable engram patterns in our brains. Old habits are hard to break. New habits are hard to form. Repetition is the key because it is a function of memory.

Through the years, I have studied psychovisualization while researching methods of habit correction. The Habit Replacement Loop is a strategy for creating positive habits. A loop is a behavioral cycle that is done repetitively, leading to automaticity of the behavior. If you envision a behavior done perfectly, it helps. Visualization measurably reinforces our efforts to replicate the behaviors we want to do perfectly.

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Source: GoogleImages: Public Domaine

The Habit Replacement Loop (HRL).

HRL is a cognitive behavior strategy that can help those wanting to change negative habits such as nail-biting and other anxiety and stress behaviors. HRLs can also help those who simply have poor personal habits resulting from detrimental behavior practices. Simply stated, once you identify the habits you wish to change, you can consciously replace them by intentionally embedding a positive behavior as a replacement.

As an example, intentionally reinforcing the habit of regular exercise through repetition can yield both physical and mental benefits. The learning psychology method is to perfectly drill and practice a specific behavior or task until an automatic response is formed, creating a successful habit replacement. The learning can involve both actual and psychovisual practices. Now, many activities can be combined with artificial intelligence applications.

Visualization is very powerful.

In a 1996 basketball study at the University of Chicago, participants were split into three groups. Those in each group were first tested on how many free throws they could make.

The first group then practiced free throws every day for an hour. The second group just visualized themselves making free throws. The third group did nothing.

After 30 days, the three groups were tested again. The first group improved their success rate by 24%. The second group improved by 23%—without touching a basketball. The third group did not improve.

Creating positive learning habits is fundamental in achieving success. Learning psychology is foundational in personal development. Learning how to learn is a key to sustained vitality, personal development, self-actualization, and success.

Psychovisualization, media psychology, the use of artificial intelligence, and cognitive-behavioral psychology offer powerful tools that combine to improve performance through enhanced habit formation. Understanding, applying, and continuously examining each of these tools will provide steps in the right direction. Perfected performance resulting from perfect practice is essential in aspiring to achieve one's human potential.

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Luskin Learning Psychology Series No. 61

Special Thanks. Toni Luskin, Ph.D. for editorial and technical support.


Duhigg, Charles, The Power of Habit. Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. New York, N.Y. Random House, 2012

Wright, Judith, (2013) Evolating. Living a Great Life (1ed. Vol 1), Chicago, Wright Foundation

Luskin, B. The Habit Replacement Loop, Psychology Today Blog, link to: The Media Psychology Effect.

Post, P. G., Wrisberg, C. A., & Mullins, S. (2010). A Field Test of the Influence of Pre-Game Imagery on Basketball Free Throw Shooting. Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity.

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