What are the types of behavior in psychology?
People behave differently. This makes us unique. The way we act reflects who we are. In psychology, our observable acts are called behavior.
However, behavior has different types. Psychology categorizes behavior as Overt, Covert, Conscious, Unconscious, Rational, Irrational, Voluntary and Involuntary.
These behaviors have salient characteristics. In this post, I will be discussing the different types of behavior and their corresponding characteristics.
1. Overt Behavior
Overt behavior is an observable act of a person. It is obvious. You can see it and measure it at some point. Examples of this are eating, jogging, writing, dancing, walking, reading, studying, singing, talking, etc. You got it. Whatever overt behavior it is, it must be observable.
2. Covert Behavior
Covert behavior is an exact opposite of the previous type. Covert behaviors have something to do with thoughts. A person may display desirable acts such as praising someone’s success but feel bitter inside. Insecurities are a perfect example of covert behavior.
A human being may wear a mask. You can show different faces to different people in different situations. This is the reason why finding a “true” person is always challenging. Take a relationship, for instance, many of the romantic relationships were shattered after discovering the untruthfulness. You can only know the person after being with him/her for several years.
3. Conscious Behavior
Conscious behavior is an intended act. It is something that you deliberately do. A good example of this is taking a bath or eating your breakfast. You do it due to a certain purpose. Taking a bath, for instance, is a necessity before going to school or work. And eating breakfast is necessary before you start your day. These behaviors are in accordance with certain the purpose.
4. Unconscious Behavior
Unconscious behaviors are acts that run automatically without your mind controlling them. For instance, you might not notice your breathing until you read this sentence. You might not aware of your response to a frightening situation. You hate cockroaches. They make you scream when they craw on your skin. It is your automatic response. You don’t even think about it. Thus, the scream is an unconscious behavior.
5. Rational behavior
This one of the types of behavior in psychology that we could observe among people every day. It pertains to making the decision and acts in accordance with the existing social norms and practices. You do follow traffic rules because it is what a law abiding citizen should do. Or, you do not hurt others because that is the right thing to do. These behaviors are based on the rationality that you develop in yourself.
6. Irrational Behavior
Irrational behaviors are acts that deviate from what is right. Usually, these behaviors are nonsensical. They serve no purpose. Punching someone on the street without reason is an irrational behavior.
7. Voluntary Behavior
Voluntary behaviors emerge out of free will. It is the result of being free from making decisions in life. You can decide to choose your course in college or not go to college at all. You can choose to work hard towards your goal or let procrastination defeat you. Working on something you love is a voluntary behavior.
8. Involuntary behavior
These behaviors are usually uncontrollable. The blink of your eye when you are exposed to a bright light is an example of this behavior. You do not have any sort of control over it. Thus involuntary.
These types of behavior in psychology happen to us every day. You can feel these or see on other people. Understanding these types of behavior will somehow help you know other people better.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.