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Types of Behavior Often Studied

by Ron Kurtus (updated 19 January 2022)

The way that people or animals respond to various situations or stimuli can be classified as types of behavior.

Types that are of special interest and often studied include emotional behavior, where a person or animal reacts emotionally to a situation; bad behavior, where individuals break social rules, such as being rude or not minding; uncontrolled behavior, where an individual cannot control his or her behavior; and group behavior or how a group of beings act in various situations.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Emotional behavior

There are situations where a person or animal may respond emotionally with anger, fear, joy, sorrow or excitement. Love and hate are emotions, but they don't seem to be distinct reactions, as are with the other emotions.

The way a person or animal emotionally responds or reacts to a stimulus determines his or her emotional behavior. This reaction follows some specific rules that may be learned or genetically hard-wired into the species.

Rules for anger and fear

The emotions of anger and fear come as a reaction to a threat or irritation. The rules for the response are:

If you are threatened or irritated, and the other person or animal seems:

These emotions are for survival.

Rules for joy, sorrow and excitement

The emotions of joy, sorrow or excitement come from gaining or losing something.

These emotions are the essence of motivation.

Bad behavior

There are situations where a person or animal may respond in a manner that is anti-social or breaking certain rules or laws. Examples of bad or anti-social behavior include:

Reasons for such behavior is often that what is wanted is a greater reward than possible consequences of breaking the rules, laws or commands.

Uncontrolled behavior

There are situations where a person or animal may respond in a manner that is uncontrolled. Often this is related to emotional behavior, but it also may be due to addictions of some sort.

For example, while everyone may get angry, there are some who easily lose their temper and even go into an uncontrolled rage. Likewise, there are people who are so addicted to gambling that they can't stop this type of behavior.

It is difficult to determine the reasons for the various types of uncontrolled behavior.

Group behavior

There are situations where a group of people or animals act as an entity itself or may result in anti-social or uncontrolled behavior by the individuals in the group. Sometimes this is called the "mob mentality."

The rules for behavior in groups can often lead to surprising results. In the example of a flock of birds in flight or a school of fish, a few rules about their motion can result in a variety of activities.

Participants in a group during a protest demonstration are often taken up with the emotions of the group that they may do violent acts that they normally would not think of doing. Possible rules are:

One reason for group behavior is that people and animals are influenced by those around them, such that the group becomes almost like an organism in itself.


Emotional, anti-social, uncontrolled, and group behavior are interesting behavior classifications that follow their own rules and have their own reasons for happening. These types of behavior are important enough to warrant further study.

Your enthusiasm can infect your group

Resources and references

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