Behavior vs. Habit

Difference Between Behavior and Habit

Both behavior and habit are both used to describe a person’s character or personality. However, there are quite a number of differences between them. Behavior refers to actions committed by organisms or systems as a response to external stimuli or the immediate environment. Habit, on the contrary, is routine behavior. This happens when the same action or behavior is repeated constantly. An interesting fact about habit is the fact that it takes place subconsciously; a person is often unaware that he has already acquired a habit. This feature is also one of the major factors that distinguish habit from behavior.

Habits sometimes are compulsory, while a person’s behavior is believed to be under the control of the nervous and endocrine systems. As a result, many assume that a complex nervous system also leads to complex behavior.

The related term ‘Habit Formation’, is a process through which behavior develops into a habit. Consequently, a habit could never turn into behavior since one is never conscious of his/her habits. It is an accomplished fact that behavior can be innate and on other occasions, acquired from external sources.

A person displays behavior consciously, but is unconscious of the habits that he/she keeps on repeating. This is another major distinguishing factor between the two. On a related note, researchers found the existence of ‘Automatic Behavior’, which is unintentional and appears to be similar in nature to habit.

Behavior refers to an action that changes an individual’s or system’s relationship to his/her or its environment. It is an individual’s or system’s output towards the environment. Habit, on the contrary, is an input into the individual or system from the environment.