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The term "behaviour" describes a basic pattern of our brain, with a reaction based on a perception. The term behaviour thus also defines the interaction of a person with the environment. This interaction can be understood physically as well as psychologically.


Behavioural response → The reaction to a particular perception from which the need for a response or action is derived.

Reflex → The direct and automated reaction of the nervous system to a stimulus. Innate reflexes do not have to be learned. Reflex-like reaction patterns, on the other hand, are learned (e.g. conditioning).

Cerebral etiquette → Behavioural execution control, enables us to distinguish between good and evil, evaluate our environment and take control of our thoughts.


Perception and reaction

A basic model of our brain is perception-based response. This pattern of action can be described by the generic term behaviour . The term behaviour can be understood primarily from a physical point of view, but also from a psychological point of view. Behaviour is defined as the interaction of the person with the environment. In the case of motor activity, this is described by Gibson's ecological model. However, this pattern generally holds true for behaviour. Human behaviour is thus oriented towards recognizing possible courses of action or developing a plan for an appropriate response.


Therefore, the behavioural reaction is always preceded by a perception, for example, of a problem or the experience of a certain situation, from which the need for a reaction or an action derives. Behaviour determines how information from perceptual processes is understood or interpreted and translated into action or reaction. Behaviour reacts very sensitively to the demands of the environment and the context of the action.

Response reaction

The reaction, in turn, can occur at different levels, for example, more at the physical level or more at the cognitive level. But not every activity is behaviour, for this a specific relationship with the environment is needed. This is why reflexes are not understood as behaviour. An activity becomes behaviour only when it originates from the human being and has a relationship with the environment.

From a somewhat more theoretical point of view, behaviour as a whole can be understood as the holistic response of the holistic brain system to a specific stimulus. Therefore, in the field of motor skills, we also talk about motor behaviour, which goes far beyond the simple execution of a movement. Behaviour includes perception processes, task interpretation, adaptation to environmental requirements, strategies, but also psychological, emotional and cognitive factors. The prefrontal cortex, an area of our brain associated with planning complex behaviours and expressing our personality, is of particular importance.

Behavioral Execution Control (Brain Tag)

We call the tasks mastered in the prefrontal cortex "executive functions". And there's a good reason for this: it's the part of the brain that allows us to distinguish between right and wrong, that allows us to assess our surroundings and control our thoughts.

  • It is the area where many processes related to the development of our personality take place.

  • Motivation, enthusiasm, and energy to achieve a goal also come from the prefrontal cortex.

  • It helps us focus our attention, process complex information and plan.

  • It coordinates and adjusts our social behaviour, helps with impulse control and emotional processing.

  • This is also where our memory resides. It includes all the cognitive skills we use to store information when we learn new information or perform new actions.

In practical terms, the prefrontal cortex controls the intake of information and therefore the ability to learn something. On the other hand, it controls behaviour, motivation, or at least adequate control over primal drives/needs. This function package is also called behavioural execution control ("brain tag"). Thus, if there are behavioural deficits, this may prevent the absorption of information in the other area and vice versa.

What does this mean for my teaching practice?

Human behaviour is, in the abstract, a complex reaction of the brain to a certain perception. If a person's behaviour appears to be problematic, this may be due to an inappropriate reaction pattern, but there may also be a specific subjective perception.


Reflection question

Why are reflexes not understood as behaviour?


1) In terms of Gibson's ecological model, behaviour is considered to be

A) a character trait
B) adaptation to certain environmental requirements
C) reflexive reaction


1️⃣ → B) adaption to certain environmental requirements

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