Difference Between Behavioral and Mental (With Table)

Most of the creatures on earth are a combination of various elements. The proper functioning is backed up by various integrated mechanisms. There are various differentiated science and study related to each aspect. The two major aspects and elements are behavioral and mental.

Behavioral vs Mental

The main difference between behavioral and mental is that behavioral is an aspect of an individual, system, organisms, or entities that deals with actions or mannerisms while mental is an aspect of an individual, system, organisms, or entities that deal with the cognitive and emotional sphere.

Behavioral involves actions and even the inactions produced as a response which are internally coordinated. Behavioral is of two types – innate or learned from the surrounding environment. Behavioral acts are an indication of mental stability. There are also various disorders related to the behavioral aspect of an individual.

While mental involves functioning and processing of the mind. Mental is the basis of behavioral patterns and responses towards a particular stimulus. Mental is used as slang in the United Kingdom to denote somebody or some process as insane and crazy. There are also several disorders related to the mental aspect of an individual.

Comparison Table Between Behavioral and Mental

Parameters of ComparisonBehavioralMental
Definition A clear, precise, unambiguous, and objective description of the behavior of the target or any competing behavior A clear, precise, unambiguous, and objective description of the mind and its functioning and processing
Origin Derived from a French and Latin word “havior” and “habēre” Derived from a Latin word called “mentum”
Professionals Experts in the field of behavioral are social workers, counselors, physicians and nursesExperts in the field of mental are psychiatrists, neurologists, therapists, clinical psychologists
Disorders Disorders in eating habits, reactions to situations, drinking and exercising habits Depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders
Synonyms Demeanour, observable activity, response, manners Psychology, cognitive, cerebral

What is Behavioral?

Behavioral refers to the behavior of an individual, system, organism, or entity. Behavior can be actions or mannerisms concerning the surrounding environment. The response could be from internal or external stimuli which bring out the voluntary or involuntary behavior.

Behavioral consists of the actions and even the inactions produced as a response. They are internally coordinated. Behavior in the form of response is different from the other biochemical and psychological changes, as it develops and changes over a long period. The response is usually towards a change, alteration, or event in the environment.

Behavioral can be of two types – innate or learned. Behavioral is not only restricted to humans, and includes plants, animals, and other organisms as well. The objective of behavioral is to give direction to the learner in measurable terms. Behavioral learning theory is referred to as behaviorism. Behaviorism focuses on behaviors learned from the environment and a popular example would be positive reinforcement.

Biologically, behavior or personality is not inherited. Only genes are inherited but these genes produce proteins that are responsible to affect the pattern of behavior. There can be several behavioral traits in the organism that have evolved through the species. Behavioral traits like good character can not only be inherited but also developed.

What is Mental?

The term mental refers to the cognitive and emotional aspects of any individual or organism. It consists of how the organism thinks and feels and it ultimately affects the behavioral response. A mental disturbance can disturb and hinder daily functioning, relationships, and physical health. Mental balance can bring psychological resilience.

Mental aspects can be affected by socioeconomic conditions, education, occupation, level of social involvement, and quality of housing. Even genetics has a role to play in mental aspects. Certain mental patterns are inheritable. The word was derived from a Latin word called “mentum”. The mental term is used in the context of psychological disorders.

The term mental has certain myths like children do not experience mental problems, people with some mental disorders are violent, there is no recovery from mental health issues or therapies and self-help are not beneficial. People with mental health issues could look and behave normally, and most problems are not even identified.

There can be several mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, and other such types. The cause of these mental health issues could be varied and diverse but some common causes are abuse, isolation, loneliness, trauma, neglect, discrimination, or even stigma. Mental is also used as slang in the UK.

Main Differences Between Behavioral and Mental

  1. Behavioral aspect can be found in abiotic as well as biotic factors while mental aspect can only be found in biotic factors.
  2. Behavioral is related to response and mannerism while mental is related to the mind.
  3. Behavioral refers to actions and reactions under stimuli while mental refers to the processing that brings about that action or reaction.
  4. Behavioral health concerns the impact of behavior on well-being while mental health concerns the state of being of an individual.
  5. Behavioral is the basis of physical response while mental is the basis of behavioral response.


Behavioral and mental are the two main aspects in the functioning of any species or creature. Every creature has been built to survive and feed itself. Every response and activity of an individual is produced by mental processing after evaluation. Not only actions but behaviors, habits, pattern, style is related with the mental processing.

Both behavioral and mental are inter-related aspects in the evolution and current functioning. The impact on one of the aspects can obstruct the other. Behavioral and mental properties are the basis of the abiotic and biotic factors of the ecosystem. Though both the aspects are similar and interrelated, they have distinct differences and contrasts each other.

There are various disorders in both aspects. The occurrence of disruption in one can affect the efficient functioning of the other. It is important to take hints and indications offered as symptoms by the body and start the treatment, if required, at the earliest.


  1. https://europepmc.org/article/med/14513575
  2. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/139/1/e20162141.abstract
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