The 15 types of behaviors, and their characteristics

A summary of the types of behaviors classified according to several criteria, with their explanations.

Talk, laugh, cry, read, eat … all these words have in common that they are verbs. That they express action, and that they are carried out by something or someone. They are behaviors, and apart from those cited there are many more; in fact, we are constantly doing some.

Throughout this article, we will make a brief enumeration and explanation of the main categories or types of behaviors that are usually studied.

What do we call behavior?

Before entering to assess some of the different types of behavior and although it is deductible from the introduction, it is advisable to make a small comment about the concept we are talking about. It is understood or defined as behavior to the set of actions carried out by a subject. Which can be human or animal, and which is the expression of their behavior in a particular environment, situation or context.

Technically, everything we do is behavior. This can be easy to see when we perform an action on a physical level: we lift an object, we sit down, we run …

But nevertheless to be doing some behavior 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 do not stop being actions that we carry out, even if they are mental.

The different types of behaviors

If we take into account that we understand as behavior any type of action or behavior performed, the truth is that we can realize the innumerable amount of situations and activities that we may be talking about. In this sense, we can find a large number of possible classifications of types of behavior, based on very different criteria. Then we leave you just some of the most common and known.

1. Innate or inherited behaviortypes of behaviors

Innate or reflex behaviors are one of the first types of behavior we perform in our lives, and are characterized by being those that appear in the person or be naturally and derived from our genetics, without anyone has taught us before. An example of this is found in reflexes such as sucking your finger or suck when we are babies.

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

2. Behavior acquired or learnedtypes of behaviors

Another of the main types of behavior is the behavior acquired or learned, which is defined as any type of action that does not arise naturally in the person or animal but that is learned throughout life. This learning can be inculcated by their own experience or transmitted or modeled from observing the behavior of others.

3. Observable/manifest behaviortypes of behaviors

The observable or manifest behavior is one that can be seen with the naked eye from the outside. These are behaviors that we carry out. And that involves some kind of movement on our part in relation to the environment that surrounds us.

They are the type of behavior that is usually considered as such since they lead us to physically “do” some action.

In this sense, currents such as the first behaviorism initially considered them the only type of observable. And empirically demonstrable behavior.

4. Latent / concealed behaviortypes of behaviors

As we have said before, things like images, think, remember or fantasize are acts or behaviors that can not be seen by the naked eye from the outside, but they are still acting that we carry out. These are known as covert behaviors.

5. Voluntary behaviortypes of behaviors

Another type of classification of behaviors that can be applied has to do with the presence or absence of voluntariness at the time of carrying them out. Voluntary behaviors are all those that the subject carries out in a conscious manner and according to his will.

6. Involuntary / reflex behaviors

On the other hand, involuntary behaviors are all those that are carried out unintentionally.

In general, this mainly includes reflex behaviors: withdraw the hand from a fire that burns us, breath or the set of reflexes that we have from birth.

7. Adaptive behaviortypes of behaviors

We understand as adaptive behaviors all those that allow those who make them adapt more or less efficiently to the environment that surrounds them so that their realization is an advantage and facilitates the survival and adjustment and welfare of the subject.

8. Maladaptive Behaviors

There are also behaviors that make it difficult for the subject to adapt to the environment. And that can cause discomfort or hinder its functioning in the environment in which it is located. It is one of the types of behaviors.

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

9. Appetitive behaviors

It is called appetitive behavior or approach to that set of actions carried out with approaching a specific goal, which motivates and activates the subject to act.

10. Complementary behaviors

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

11. Passive behavior

It is understood as passive behavior to that set of behaviors linked to the way of relating to the environment that surrounds us and the rest of our peers, characterized by suppression or minimization of their own desires and needs in favor of those of others.

They usually appear due to a need or desire to be appreciated or to avoid the conflict that could involve the expression of one’s will.

11. Aggressive behaviortypes of behaviors

Aggressive behavior is understood as the one in which the obtaining of one’s own benefit or the gratification of one’s own needs is placed ahead of the well-being of others, with indifference to the fact that this is a detriment to the rest.

It is a behavior of a dominant type that can be expressed through violence. Although evolutionarily they had a purpose (to defend themselves from external aggression). This type of behavior can become aversive for the rest.

13. Assertive behaviortypes of behaviors

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

It allows negotiation and reach a point of agreement, and integrates reaffirmation and expression of needs. And opinions with respect for those of others.

Conditional behavior / respondent

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

It is a concept better known as a conditioned response, studied by the behavioral current of psychology. And used by authors like Pavlov with his classical conditioning.

14. Unconditioned/unconditioned behavior

More well-known as an unconditional answer, it is the type of behavior that the subject performs in an innate. And natural way when presenting an appetizing or aversive stimulus. Towards which there is a tendency to approach or move away from depending on the case.

15. Operant conduct

It is denominated as such to all that type of conduct that is carried out with the purpose of obtaining or obtaining a certain good, objective or goal.

It is also related to behaviorism, in this case with Skinner’s own operating conditioning. We conduct a behavior due to the prediction that its realization allows us to receive reinforcement or avoid punishment.

Jeffrey Wilson

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