The 15 types of behavior and their characteristics

Speaking, laughing, crying, reading, eating … all these words have in common that they are verbs. That they express an action, and that they are carried out by something or someone. These are conduits, and in addition to those mentioned, there are many more; in fact, we do it all the time.

Throughout this article we will do a brief list and explanation of the main categories or types of behavior which are generally studied.

    What do we call the behavior?

    Before we move on to evaluating some of the different types of behavior and while this is inferred from the introduction, it is worth making a little commentary on the concept we are talking about. It is understood or defined as the conduct of all actions carried out by a subject, which may be human or animal, and which it is the expression of their behavior in a given environment, situation or context.

    Technically, we’re just driving. It can be easy to see when we perform an action on a physical level: we lift an object, we sit, we run …

    But nevertheless in order to perform any conduct it is not necessary that it be directly visible in the physical environment; even when we are completely still, we do something: thinking, imagining, dreaming, doubting or feeling are still actions that we perform, even if they are mental.

    The different types of behavior

    If we consider that we understand as conduct any type of action or behavior performed, the truth is that we can achieve the countless number of situations and activities that we can talk about.

    In this sense, we can find a large number of possible classifications of types of behavior, based on a wide variety of criteria. Here are some of the most common and well-known.

    1. Innate or hereditary behavior

    Behaviors or innate reflexes are one of the first types of behavior that we practice in our lives, and are characterized by being those which appear in the person or which are natural and derived from our genetics, without anyone having it to us. learned before. An example of this is in reflexes such as finger sucking or breastfeeding when we are babies.

    They can appear after birth or even before (Some of these behaviors are already observed in the fetal stage).

    2. Acquired or learned behavior

    Another of the main types of behavior is learned or learned behavior, which is defined as any type of action that does not occur naturally in a person or animal but is learned throughout life. This learning can be instilled by one’s own experience or transmitted or modeled from observing the behavior of others.

    3. Observable / overt behavior

    Observable or overt behavior is that which it can be seen with the naked eye from the outside. These are behaviors that we practice and that involve a kind of movement on our part in relation to the environment around us.

    This is the type of behavior generally considered to be such because they lead us to physically “do” an action.

    In this sense, currents such as early behaviorism initially viewed them as the only type of behavior that was observable and empirically demonstrable.

    4. Latent / secret behavior

    As we have seen previously, things like imagining, thinking, remembering or fantasizing are acts or behaviors that they cannot be seen with the naked eye from the outside, but they are always acts that we perform. These are known as secret behaviors.

    5. Voluntary conduct

    Another type of behavioral classification that can be applied concerns the presence or absence of volunteering in their implementation. The voluntary behaviors are all those that the subject who accomplishes them consciously and in accordance with his will.

    6. Involuntary behaviors / reflexes

    On the other hand, involuntary behaviors are all those committed unintentionally.

    In general, this mainly includes reflex behaviors: removing the hand from a fire that burns us, breathing or all the reflexes we have since birth.

    7. Adaptive behaviors

    We understand as adaptive behaviors to all those that allow the one who performs them to adapt more or less effectively to the surrounding environment, So that its realization is an advantage and facilitates the survival and adjustment and well-being of the subject.

    8. Adaptive behaviors

    There are also behaviors which make it difficult for the subject to adapt to the environment and which they can cause you discomfort or prevent you from functioning in the environment you are in.

    These would be the so-called maladaptive behaviors, which tend to cause suffering and which it is generally desirable to modify (although sometimes this is difficult or the subject himself does not want to do it).

    9. Appetite behaviors

    This is called appetitive behavior or an approach to this set of actions achieved when approaching a certain goal, What motivates and activates the subject to act.

    10. Consumer behavior

    It is the set of actions that we carry out in order to achieve the goal, goal or gratification that prompts us to action, And it allows us to end a pattern or a series of actions or behaviors to achieve it.

    11. Passive behaviors

    Passive behavior is understood as the set of behaviors related to the way of relate to the environment around us and the rest of our peers, Characterized by suppressing or minimizing one’s own wants and needs for the benefit of those of others.

    They usually appear because of a need or desire to be appreciated or to avoid conflict that expressing one’s own will might involve.

    12. Aggressive behavior

    It is understood as an aggressive behavior to that in which the obtaining of one’s own benefit or the satisfaction of one’s own needs is put before the well-being of others, with indifference to the fact that it harms the rest.

    This is a dominant type of behavior that can be expressed through violence. While they had an evolutionary goal (to defend themselves against external aggressions), this type of behavior can become aversive towards the rest.

      13. Assertive behaviors

      Assertive behavior is one that has a balance between aggressive and passive: the subject defends his point of view and his interests, but take into account and value the opinion and needs of the rest.

      It allows negotiation and reaching a point of agreement, and integrates the reaffirmation and expression of needs and opinions while respecting the own needs of others.

      Conditional / reactive behavior

      This type of behavior refers to that which the subject performs as a result of the association made between its emission and the presence or absence of another appetitive or aversive stimulus.

      This is a concept better known as a conditioned response., Studied by the behaviorist mainstream of psychology and used by authors such as Pavlov with his classic conditioning.

      14. Unconditional / unconditional conduct

      Better known as an unconditional response, this is the type of behavior that the subject performs in an innate and natural manner by exhibiting a stimulus that is inherently desirable or aversive, Towards which there is a tendency to approach or move away depending on the case.

      15. Operational conduct

      It is called as such all that type of conduct which is carried out for the purpose of obtaining or achieving a certain good, goal or purpose.

      It is also linked to behaviorism, in this case with that of the packaging skinner operator: We perform behavior because of the expectation that its performance allows us to receive reinforcement or avoid punishment.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Cao, L. (2010). In-depth understanding and use of behavior: a focus on behavioral computing. Information sciences. 180 (17): 3067-3085.
      • Dockery, M. and Reiss, M. (1999): Behavior. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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