The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
— Kent Keith, The Paradoxical Commandments

Behavior: the observable actions of an “organism.” These range from complex acts such as talking or walking to simple acts such as the movement of a body part or a change in “heart rate.” (The Brain-Kandel, 31) Any response of an organism that can be measured. (Cardwell, 28)

A complex continuum of “emotions,”  “moods,”  “intelligence,” and “personality” that drives how we function on a daily basis. Behavior controls how we communicate, cope with negative feelings, and react to “stress.” Many of our behaviors are in response to “environmental factors,” but how we respond has genetic underpinnings. (Lewis, 150)


Acting: the ability to live truthfully under imaginary experiences. (Noice, 1)

Antisocial Behavior: any behavior that is considered harmful or disruptive within a group or society. The label ‘antisocial’ is in itself a subjective term, but there is general agreement that aspects of behavior such as “aggression” or “discrimination” would fall into this category. (Cardwell, 14)

Aggression: any response (typically to frustration) made with the intent of harming some person or object. (Coon, 505) A possible reaction to stress. People might display violence, lashing out against others, or perhaps becoming self-destructive. Verbal and or physical aggression is possible. (Bamford, 10/28/10)

Displaced Aggression: redirecting aggression to a target other than the actual source of one’s frustration. (Coon, 507)

Anthropomorphism: the attribution of human traits, motives, emotions, or behaviors to non-human animals or inanimate objects. (Hockenbury, 336)

Compulsive Behavior: repetitive behaviors which the individual feels compelled to perform in order to stop something terrible from happening. The connection between the compulsive behavior and its apparent purpose tends to be unreasonable and the behavior tends to be excessive in itself. The compulsive behavior does relieve “anxiety” for a short while, but no other pleasure is derived from the performance of the act itself. (Cardwell, 53) Ritual behaviors that must be carried out in a certain pattern or sequence. Note that the person does not compulsively wash his hands because he enjoys being clean. Rather, he washes his hands because to not do so, causes extreme anxiety. (Hockenbury, 518) Editor’s note - other examples include checking repeatedly to see if a simple task has been accomplished, counting to a certain number before performing a task, or a need for objects or actions to be perfectly symmetrical or in an exact order or position.

Informative Influence: behavior that is motivated by the desire to be correct. (Hockenbury, 456) We conform because of uncertainty and out of a desire to be correct. (Cardwell, 55)

Initiative: the action of taking the first step or the lead; an act setting a process or chain of events in motion; an independent or enterprising act. (Oxford)

Instinct: any response that is natural (i.e. inborn and unlearned) and a characteristic of a given species. Instincts are seen as the motivators of many animal behaviors such as courtship, mating and parental behavior, although their role in human behavior is more contentious. A term that tends to defy definition. (Cardwell, 131)

Normative Influence: behavior that is motivated by the desire to gain social acceptance and approval. (Hockenbury, 456) We conform in order to belong, to be liked and to be approved by others. (Cardwell, 55)

Prosocial Behavior: any behavior that helps another, whether the underlying motive is self-serving or selfless. (Hockenbury, 467)

Altruism: helping another person with no expectation of personal reward or benefit. (Hockenbury, 467) A type of prosocial behavior in which a person will voluntarily help another at some cost to themselves. The primary motivation for altruistic behavior is seen as a desire to improve the welfare of another person rather than the anticipation of some reward. (Cardwell, 9)