Difference Between Behaviour and Personality

Behaviour and Personality are two different characteristics that define a person. A person is judged by how he or she behaves and what traits constitute a part of his or her personality.

Behaviour vs Personality

The difference between Behaviour and Personality is that the former is expressed through a person’s actions in general. That is to say, Behaviour stands for what a person does.

While the latter refers to a person’s innate characteristics like emotions, cognitions and behaviour that has evolved through a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Behavior vs Personality

Behaviour refers to the way a person acts or reacts to other persons and their surroundings in general. It is about how a person expresses himself or herself.

Personality, on the other hand, refers to an amalgamation of qualities and characteristics that defines a person. It finds expression through how one feels, thinks and behaves.

In other words, Personality stands for what a person is.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonBehaviourPersonality
DefinitionIt is how a person acts or reacts to others and the surroundings in general.It refers to an amalgamation of qualities like cognitions and emotional and behavioural patterns that has evolved through a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Related toIt may relate to human beings, animals, insects, microorganisms, elements etc.It is used to describe only human beings.
Expressed throughIt is expressed through what a person does that is his/her actions.It finds expression through one’s thinking, emotions and behaviour.
Prone to ChangeIt is based on the situation and therefore changes a lot.It is inherent and therefore remains stable.
Nature of ChangeIt tends to be temporary.It tends to be permanent.


What is Behaviour?

It refers to the way a person acts or reacts in a particular situation and to his surroundings in general. Although, a person’s behaviour is mostly influenced by his or her beliefs, values and cognitions but ultimately it is situation-based.

That is to say, it changes as per the situations.

For example, a person may act professional in an official meeting. On the other hand, he or she may act casual in a gathering with his or her friends and family.

But a person cannot be judged merely by observing how he or she behaves as behaviour is all about how a person expresses himself or herself. It is all on the outside.

For example: a person may be an extrovert but he or she may sometimes modify his or her behaviour to remain silent.

Therefore to evaluate a person, apart from behaviour, one needs to take into account the person’s thinking, feelings and capabilities. In short, the overall personality of the person needs to be taken into consideration.

Also, since the term is action-oriented, it can be used to describe the actions and mannerisms of anything e.g. human beings, animals, insects, microorganisms and even non- living things.

The need to understand why people act in a certain manner has led psychologists to create a vast literature on Behavioural Psychology.

It attempts to study people’s behaviour that includes their feelings, thoughts, emotions etc. and tries to modify them in the hope of improving emotional and mental disorders.

Some of the major approaches in Behavioural Psychology include:

  1. Behaviour Therapy: It is the hypernym for clinical psychotherapy that applies methods acquired from Behaviourism to recognise and change behaviours that are supposed to unhealthy or destructive.
  2. Cognitive Therapy: It is based on the idea that our perception of certain things influences our feelings. It emphasizes the experiences of the present rather than the past and is based on problem-solving.
  3. Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy:  It is a form of psychotherapy that aims to challenge patterns of thought that are negative. It tries to change one’s perception of the self and the world so that the unhealthy or destructive behaviours can be altered.
  4. Applied Behaviour Analysis: Also known as Behavioural Engineering, it aims to improve behaviours of social significance like communication, social skills, academic skills and adaptive learning skills such as hygiene, job competence, punctuality etc.

Major Techniques that are used to study ones behaviour include Operant and Classical Conditioning, Behavioural Modelling and Cognitive Restructuring. Some of the most popular theorists in Behavioural Psychology are B.F Skinner, Walter Mischel and Albert Bandura.


What is Personality?

It refers to the innate qualities of a person that has evolved through an amalgamation of genetic and environmental factors. It defines a person in terms of what he or she is in actuality rather than what he or she does.

It is described in terms of a person’s cognitions, emotional patterns and behaviour

All these characteristics develop at an early age and therefore remain constant in a person.

One cannot change or modify one’s personality. It is inherent and stable. Wherever the person goes, he/she carries his/her personality with him/her.

It helps in distinguishing one person from another and also enables one to predict a person’s behavioural pattern in a particular situation.

This predictable nature of personality has enabled the psychologists to produce a vast literature on Personality Psychology that studies the tendencies leading to differences in behaviour.

Some of the major approaches that have been taken into consideration to study personality are cognitive, biological, learning and trait-based, humanistic and psychodynamic approaches.

There are five components of a person’s personality:

  1. Conscientiousness: It is an assessment of how organised, careful, self-disciplined and deliberate a person is.
  2. Agreeableness: It is an assessment of how an individual interacts with his or her social environment viz other individuals and within a team.
  3. Neuroticism: It assesses how an individual deals with stress.
  4. Openness to experience:  It assesses how creative, imaginative and unconventional an individual is.
  5. Extraversion: It is an assessment of how energetic, outgoing and sociable an individual is.

Together they are called CANOE or the Big Five.

Some of the major theorists of Personality Psychology include Abraham Maslow, Alfred Adler, Carl Rogers, Gordon Allport, Hans Eysenck and Sigmund Freud.


Main Differences Between Behaviour and Personality

  1. Both the terms are used to evaluate a person. While the term Behaviour is used to define what are person does in general. The term Personality is used to define what a person is.
  2. The main difference between Behaviour and Personality is that the former is evaluated by observing the actions and mannerisms of a person. While the latter is evaluated by observing the thinking, emotional patterns and behaviour of a person.
  3. The term Behaviour can be used to describe anything- human beings, animals, microorganisms and even non-living things like elements, systems etc. But the term Personality can only be used to describe human beings.
  4. Behaviour is based on how a person acts or reacts to a particular situation and his surroundings in general. Therefore, it changes a lot. However, Personality is based on a combination of inherent and evolved qualities and therefore it remains stable.
  5. A person’s personality can be judged by how he or she behaves. But behaviour cannot be judged in terms of one’s personality.
Difference Between Behaviour and Personality


  1. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rstb.2010.0161
  2. https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/160/15/516.short
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