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Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; see spelling differences) is the 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 computed 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]


Taking a behavior informatics perspective, a behavior consists of behavior actor, operation, interactions, and their properties. A behavior can be represented as a behavior vector. [2]



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". [3]

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 occur more rapidly, and excluding changes that are result of development (ontogeny). [4] [5]

Behaviors can be either innate or learned from the environment.

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. [6]

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. [7]

Animal behavior

Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually with a focus on behavior under natural conditions, and viewing behavior as an evolutionarily adaptive trait. [8] behaviorism is a term that also describes the scientific and objective study of animal behavior, usually referring to measured responses to stimuli or trained behavioral responses in a laboratory context, without a particular emphasis on evolutionary adaptivity. [9]

Consumer behavior

Consumers behavior

Consumer behavior refers to the processes consumers go through, and reactions they have towards products or services [10] (Dowhan, 2013). It is to do with consumption, and the processes consumers go through around purchasing and consuming goods and services [11] (Szwacka-Mokrzycka, 2015). Consumers recognise needs or wants, and go through a process to satisfy these needs. Consumer behavior is the process they go through as customers, which includes types of products purchased, amount spent, frequency of purchases and what influences them to make the purchase decision or not. There is a lot that influences consumer behavior, with contributions from both internal and external factors [11] (Szwacka-Mokrzycka, 2015). Internal factors include attitudes, needs, motives, preferences and perceptual processes, whilst external factors include marketing activities, social and economic factors, and cultural aspects [11] (Szwacka-Mokrzycka, 2015). Doctor Lars Perner of the University of Southern California claims that there are also physical factors that influence consumer behavior, for example if a consumer is hungry, then this physical feeling of hunger will influence them so that they go and purchase a sandwich to satisfy the hunger [12] (Perner, 2008).

Consumer decision making

There is a model described by Lars Perner which illustrates the decision making process with regards to consumer behavior. It begins with recognition of a problem, the consumer recognises a need or want which has not been satisfied. This leads the consumer to search for information, if it is a low involvement product then the search will be internal, identifying alternatives purely from memory. If the product is high involvement then the search be more thorough, such as reading reviews or reports or asking friends. The consumer will then evaluate his or her alternatives, comparing price, quality, doing trade-offs between products and narrowing down the choice by eliminating the less appealing products until there is one left. After this has been identified, the consumer will purchase the product. Finally the consumer will evaluate the purchase decision, and the purchased product, bringing in factors such as value for money, quality of goods and purchase experience [12] (Model taken from Perner, 2008). However, this logical process does not always happen this way, people are emotional and irrational creatures. People make decisions with emotion and then justify it with logic according to Robert Caladini Ph.D Psychology.

How the 4P's influence consumer behavior

The 4 P's are a marketing tool, and stand for Price, Promotion, Product and Place or Product Placement [13] (Clemons, 2008). Consumer behavior is influenced greatly by business to consumer marketing, so being a prominent marketing tool, the 4 P's will have an effect on consumer's behavior. The price of a good or service is largely determined by the market, as businesses will set their prices to be similar to that of other business so as to remain competitive whilst making a profit [13] (Clemons, 2008). When market prices for a product are high, it will cause consumers to purchase less and use purchased goods for longer periods of time, meaning they are purchasing the product less often. Alternatively, when market prices for a product are low, consumers are more likely to purchase more of the product, and more often. The way that promotion influences consumer behavior has changed over time. In the past, large promotional campaigns and heavy advertising would convert into sales for a business, but nowadays businesses can have success on products with little or no advertising [13] (Clemons, 2008). This is due to the Internet, and in particular social media. They rely on word of mouth from consumers using social media, and as products trend online, so sales increase as products effectively promote themselves [13] (Clemons, 2008). Thus, promotion by businesses does not necessarily result in consumer behavior trending towards purchasing products. The way that product influences consumer behavior is through consumer willingness to pay, and consumer preferences [13] (Clemons, 2008). This means that even if a company were to have a long history of products in the market, consumers will still pick a cheaper product over the company in question's product if it means they will pay less for something that is very similar [13] (Clemons, 2008). This is due to consumer willingness to pay, or their willingness to part with their money they have earned. Product also influences consumer behavior through customer preferences. For example, take Pepsi vs Coca-Cola, a Pepsi-drinker is less likely to purchase Coca-Cola, even if it is cheaper and more convenient. This is due to the preference of the consumer, and no matter how hard the opposing company tries they will not be able to force the customer to change their mind. Product placement in the modern era has little influence on consumer behavior, due to the availability of goods online [13] (Clemons, 2008). If a customer can purchase a good from the comfort of their home instead of purchasing in-store, then the placement of products is not going to influence their purchase decision.

In management

Behavior outside of psychology includes


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. Consequences consist of rewards or punishments.

Social behavior

Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an interaction among those members. Social behavior can be seen as similar to an exchange of goods, with the expectation that when one gives, one will receive the same. This behavior can be affected by both the qualities of the individual and the environmental (situational) factors. Therefore, social behavior arises as a result of an interaction between the two—the organism and its environment. This means that, in regards to humans, social behavior can be determined by both the individual characteristics of the person, and the situation they are in.

Behavior informatics

Behavior informatics [2] also called behavior computing, [14] explores behavior intelligence and behavior insights from the informatics and computing perspectives.

Different from applied behavior analysis from the psychological perspective, BI builds computational theories, systems and tools to qualitatively and quantitatively model, represent, analyze, and manage behaviors of individuals, groups and/or organizations.


Health behavior refers to a person's beliefs and actions regarding their health and well-being. Health behaviors are direct factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Health behaviors are influenced by the social, cultural and physical environments in which we live and work. They are shaped by individual choices and external constraints. Positive behaviors help promote health and prevent disease, while the opposite is true for risk behaviors. [15] Health behaviors are early indicators of population health. Because of the time lag that often occurs between certain behaviors and the development of disease, these indicators may foreshadow the future burdens and benefits of health-risk and health-promoting behaviors. Health behaviors do not occur in isolation—they are influenced and constrained by social and cultural norms.


A variety of studies have examined the relationship between health behaviors and health outcomes (e.g., Blaxter 1990) and have demonstrated their role in both morbidity and mortality.

These studies have identified seven features of lifestyle which were associated with lower morbidity and higher subsequent long-term survival (Belloc and Breslow 1972):

Health behaviors impact upon individuals' quality of life, by delaying the onset of chronic disease and extending active lifespan. Smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, gaps in primary care services and low screening uptake are all significant determinants of poor health, and changing such behaviors should lead to improved health. For example, in USA, Healthy People 2000, United States Department of Health and Human Services, lists increased physical activity, changes in nutrition and reductions in tobacco, alcohol and drug use as important for health promotion and disease prevention.

Treatment approach

Any interventions done are matched with the needs of each individual in an ethical and respected manner. Health belief model encourages increasing individuals' perceived susceptibility to negative health outcomes and making individuals aware of the severity of such negative health behavior outcomes. E.g. through health promotion messages. In addition, the health belief model suggests the need to focus on the benefits of health behaviors and the fact that barriers to action are easily overcome. The theory of planned behavior suggests using persuasive messages for tackling behavioral beliefs to increase the readiness to perform a behavior, called intentions. The theory of planned behavior advocates the need to tackle normative beliefs and control beliefs in any attempt to change behavior. Challenging the normative beliefs is not enough but to follow through the intention with self-efficacy from individual's mastery in problem solving and task completion is important to bring about a positive change. [16] Self efficacy is often cemented through standard persuasive techniques.

See also

Related Research Articles

Persuasion Umbrella term of influence and mode of communication

Persuasion or persuasion arts is an umbrella term of influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person's beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors.

Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that behavior is either a reflex evoked by the pairing of certain antecedent stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual's history, including especially reinforcement and punishment contingencies, together with the individual's current motivational state and controlling stimuli. Although behaviorists generally accept the important role of heredity in determining behavior, they focus primarily on environmental events.

Consumer behaviour The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with consuming

Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, and how the consumer's emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour. Consumer behaviour emerged in the 1940s and 50s as a distinct sub-discipline of marketing, but has become an inter-disciplinary social science that blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology, anthropology, ethnography, marketing and economics.

Behavioural sciences explore the cognitive processes within organisms and the behavioural interactions between organisms in the natural world. It involves the systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behavior through naturalistic observation, controlled scientific experimentation and mathematical modeling. It attempts to accomplish legitimate, objective conclusions through rigorous formulations and observation. Examples of behavioral sciences include psychology, psychobiology, anthropology, and cognitive science. Generally, behavior science deals primarily with human action and often seeks to generalize about human behavior as it relates to society.

Servicescape physical environment in which a service process takes place

Servicescape is a model developed by Booms and Bitner to emphasize the impact of the physical environment in which a service process takes place. The aim of the servicescapes model is to explain behavior of people within the service environment with a view to designing environments that does not accomplish organisational goals in terms of achieving desired behavioural responses. For consumers visiting a service or retail store, the service environment is the first aspect of the service that is perceived by the customer and it is at this stage that consumers are likely to form impressions of the level of service they will receive.

Brand loyalty is the positive feelings towards a brand and dedication to purchase the same product or service repeatedly, regardless of a competitor's actions or changes in the environment. It can also be demonstrated with other behaviors such as positive word-of-mouth advocacy. Corporate Brand loyalty is where an individual buys products from the same manufacturer repeatedly and without wavering rather than from other suppliers. Loyalty implies dedication and should not be confused with habit with its less than emotional engagement and commitment. Businesses whose financial and ethical values, for example ESG responsibilities, rest in large part on their brand loyalty are said to use the loyalty business model.

Salience is the state or condition of being prominent. The Oxford English Dictionary defines salience as "most noticeable or important." The concept is discussed in communication, semiotics, linguistics, sociology, psychology, and political science. It has been studied with respect to interpersonal communication, persuasion, politics, and its influence on mass media.

Social marketing has the primary goal of achieving "social good". Traditional commercial marketing aims are primarily financial, though they can have positive social effects as well. In the context of public health, social marketing would promote general health, raise awareness and induce changes in behaviour. Social marketing has been a large industry for some time now and was originally done with newspapers and billboards, but similar to commercial marketing has adapted to the modern world. The most common use of social marketing in today's society is through social media. However, to see social marketing as only the use of standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals is an oversimplified view.

In 1976, Sister Callista Roy developed the Adaptation Model of Nursing, a prominent nursing theory. Nursing theories frame, explain or define the practice of nursing. Roy's model sees the individual as a set of interrelated systems. The individual strives to maintain a balance between these systems and the outside world, but there is no absolute level of balance. Individuals strive to live within a unique band in which he or she can cope adequately.

Neuromarketing is a commercial marketing communication field that applies neuropsychology to marketing research, studying consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. Neuromarketing seeks to understand the rationale behind how consumers make purchasing decisions and their responses to marketing stimuli in order to apply those learnings in the marketing realm. The potential benefits to marketers include more efficient and effective marketing campaigns and strategies, fewer product and campaign failures, and ultimately the manipulation of the real needs and wants of people to suit the needs and wants of marketing interests.

A target audience is the intended audience or readership of a publication, advertisement, or other message catered specifically to said the intended audience. In marketing and advertising, it is a particular group of consumers within the predetermined target market, identified as the targets or recipients for a particular advertisement or message. Businesses that have a wide target market will focus on a specific target audience for certain messages to send, such as The Body Shops Mother's Day advertisements, which were aimed at the children and spouses of women, rather than the whole market which would have included the women themselves.

Green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. It incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, sustainable packaging, as well as modifying advertising. Yet defining green marketing is not a simple task where several meanings intersect and contradict each other; an example of this will be the existence of varying social, environmental and retail definitions attached to this term. Other similar terms used are environmental marketing and ecological marketing.

" Youth Marketing" is a term used in the marketing and advertising industry to describe activities to communicate with young people, typically in the age range of 11 to 35. More specifically, there is the teen marketing, targeting people age 11 to 17, college marketing, targeting college-age consumers, typically ages 18 to 24, young adult marketing, targeting youngsters use professionals, typically ages 25 to 34.

The value-action gap is the space that occurs when the values or attitudes of an individual do not correlate to their actions. More generally, it is the difference between what people say and what people do. The phrase is associated with environmental geography, relating to attitudes and behaviors surrounding environmental issues. Numerous studies have reported an increase in global environmental concern, but have shown that environmental engagement is not adjusting in accordance.

The market environment or business environment is a marketing term and refers to factors and forces that affect a firm's ability to build and maintain successful customer relationships. The business environment has been defined as "the totality of physical and social factors that are taken directly into consideration in the decision-making behaviour of individuals in the organisation."

Consumer neuroscience is the combination of consumer research with modern neuroscience. The goal of the field is to find neural explanations for consumer behaviors in individuals both with or without disease.

Sustainable consumer behavior is the sub-discipline of consumer behavior that studies why and how consumers do or do not incorporate sustainability issues into their consumption behavior. Further, it studies the products that consumers select, how those products are used, and how they are disposed of in pursuit of their individual sustainability goals.

Sensory branding is a type of marketing that appeals to all the senses in relation to the brand. It uses the senses to relate with customers on an emotional level. Brands can forge emotional associations in the customers' minds by appealing to their senses. A multi-sensory brand experience generates certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts and opinions to create a brandgon image in the consumer's mind.

Consumer behaviour is the study of the motivations surrounding a purchase of a product or service. It has been linked to the field of psychology, sociology and economics in attempts to analyse when, why, where and how people purchase in the way that they do. However, little literature has considered the link between consumption behaviour and the basics of human biology. Segmentation by biological-driven demographics such as sex and age are already popular and pervasive in marketing. As more knowledge and research is known, targeting based on consumers' biology is of growing interest and use to marketers.

Behavioural design

Behavioural design is a sub-category of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behaviour. All approaches of design for behaviour change acknowledge that artefacts have an important influence on human behaviour and/or behavioural decisions. They strongly draw on theories of behavioural change, including the division into personal, behavioural, and environmental characteristics as drivers for behaviour change. Areas in which design for behaviour change has been most commonly applied include health and wellbeing, sustainability, safety and social context, as well as crime prevention.


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Further reading

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