Defining Behavior

Behavior is what people do. It is any measurable or observable movement, task, or activity of a human being, whether this is covert or overt. This definition includes a wide variety of human activities, among which should be a sufficiently broad range of behaviors to suit practitioners from just about every theoretical orientation.

Thus behavior includes those activities which are readily observable to an outside observer. But it also includes the range of covert activities, such as thoughts, which many people have not thought of as behaviors. Thus it enwraps measurability and countability.

To be considered a behavior, an activity must be observable and countable by someone. Covert behaviors are also measurable and countable, especially by the individual himself or herself.

It might be somewhat more desirable to have as a target for intervention behaviors that are observable by others, since this potentially would allow for more reliable measurement. As long as they can be measured or observed somehow, any behavior can be considered a potential focal point for intervention.

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