Covert behavior

A behavior is
1) any response(s) made by an organism,
2) specifically, parts of a total response pattern,
3) an act or activity, and
4) a movement or complex movements (Atkinson, Berne and Woodworth, 1987).


Overall study of behavior falls under the spectrum of behavioral psychology.

Traditionally, behavior was only considered to be actions which are readily observable, whether visually or sensorily. It is referred to as Overt Behavior. Modern psychologists argue that any unobservable actions, which cause change in environment, and might also act as stimulus to observable responses from an organism should be considered as behavior. The opinions of behaviorists and psychologists in the matter have always been divergent. Here, we are going to discuss about Covert behavior.

Covert Behavior

a statue of thinker as a sgn of overt behavior

Covert behaviors are unobservable actions which can only be deduced by oneself. A huge majority of psychologists reason that behaviors are only eternal actions and behaviors which are observable. However, behavior is psychophysical in origin, and both internal and external world play equal role in occurrence of the behavior. Anything that brings alteration in the environment can be categorized as behavior, which means even when the actions are unobservable, they are behaviors. Examples of these covert behaviors are; perceiving, remembering, reasoning, thinking, creating and dreaming among many more.

The main reason, unobservable actions are not considered as behaviors are because such behaviors are not deducible to audiences. But, covert behaviors are of huge influence on overt behaviors.

For instance, thinking, reasoning, reading in silent are covert behaviors, behaviors that are hidden, but these behaviors directly impacts the way the person behaves in the actions they perform.

In the broader sense, even hidden behaviors bring alteration to the environment and hence they must be classified as behaviors. Also, psychologists and behaviorists believe that covert behaviors are extremely important in the subject of psychology inquiry. These unseen actions are what influence any and all actions of the individual. Although the study of these covert behaviors aren’t easy to conduct, documentation and collective research can lead to significant discoveries of individual behaviors, state of mind in different circumstances, analyzing the behaviors and so on.