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For the 2014 Cuban film, see Behavior (film).

Behavior or behaviour (see spelling differences) is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.[1]


Main articles: Ethology and Behavioural ecology

Although there is some disagreement as to how to precisely define behavior in a biological context, one common interpretation based on a meta-analysis of scientific literature states that "behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of whole living organisms (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli"[2]

A broader definition of behavior, applicable to plants and other organisms, is similar to the concept of phenotypic plasticity. It describes behavior as a response to an event or environment change during the course of the lifetime of an individual, differing from other physiological or biochemical changes that occurs much rapidly, and excluding changes that are result of development (ontogeny).[3][4]

Behaviors can be either innate or learned.

Behavior can be regarded as any action of an organism that changes its relationship to its environment. Behavior provides outputs from the organism to the environment.[5]


Main article: Human behavior

Human behavior is believed to be influenced by the endocrine system and the nervous system. It is most commonly believed that complexity in the behavior of an organism is correlated to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with more complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior.[citation needed]

Other fields[edit]

Behavior outside of psychology includes physical property and chemical reactions.

Earth sciences[edit]

In environmental modeling and especially in hydrology, a "behavioral model" means a model that is acceptably consistent with observed natural processes, i.e., that simulates well, for example, observed river discharge. It is a key concept of the so-called Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) methodology to quantify how uncertain environmental predictions are.


In management, behaviors are associated with desired or undesired focuses. Managers generally note what the desired outcome is, but behavioral patterns can take over. These patterns are the reference to how often the desired behavior actually occurs. Before a behavior actually occurs, antecedents focus on the stimuli that influence the behavior that is about to happen. After the behavior occurs, consequences fall into place. They can come in the form of rewards or punishments.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elizabeth A. Minton, Lynn R. Khale (2014). Belief Systems, Religion, and Behavioral Economics. New York: Business Expert Press LLC. ISBN 978-1-60649-704-3. 
  2. ^ Levitis, Daniel; William Z. Lidicker, Jr; Glenn Freund (June 2009). "Behavioural biologists do not agree on what constitutes behaviour" (PDF). Animal Behaviour 78: 103–10. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.03.018. 
  3. ^ Karban, R. (2008). Plant behaviour and communication. Ecology Letters 11 (7): 727–739, [1].
  4. ^ Karban, R. (2015). Plant Behavior and Communication. In: Plant Sensing and Communication. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 1-8, [2].
  5. ^ Dusenbery, David B. (2009). Living at Micro Scale, p. 124. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. ISBN 978-0-674-03116-6.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]