Difference Between Overt and Covert

Overt and Covert are two adjectives that are generally used to describe objects, actions, and behaviours.

Overt vs Covert

The main difference between overt and covert is that overt refers to something that is visible or apparent, meaning that it is out in the open and can be observed by others. Covert, being an antonym, refers to something that is not as visible or apparent. This means that it is hidden or concealed from others.

Overt vs Covert

Overt refers to an object, action, or behaviour that can be easily detected by others. Its literal meaning is to be visible or apparent.

Like in the case of overt, covert is an adjective that can be used to describe objects, actions, and behaviours.

Comparison Table Between Overt and Covert

Parameters of ComparisonOvertCovert
Meaning‘Overt’ is used to describe objects, actions, or behaviours that are done or shown openly.‘Covert’ is used to describe objects, actions, or behaviours that are not done or displayed openly.
VisibilitySomething that is overt is visible to others and easily detectable.Something that is covert is not detectable or visible to others.
InclusionsOvert behaviours include physical gestures, actions, and facial expressions.Covert behaviours include thoughts and other mental processes.
ManifestationOvert behaviour comes into existence because of covert behaviour.Covert behaviour creates or produces overt behaviour.
ExampleExamples of overt include physical expressions such as walking, dancing, eating, running, etc.Examples of covert behaviour include mental processes such as thoughts, dreams, memories, cognition, reasoning, etc.

What is Overt?

The term ‘Overt’ is an adjective that can be used to describe an object, action, or behaviour that is detectable or visible to others.

All these actions are easily observable and are thus described as ‘overt’. They can be easily seen or heard by those who are watching.

Most of the time, overt is used to describe something that is very physical in nature.

Examples of sentences that include ‘overt’ are –

“The child shows overt signs of depression and thus needs to be treated as soon as possible”. (Overt is used to describe depressions as the signs are shown openly).

What is Covert?

Covert is the antonym of the adjective ‘overt’. The word can be used to describe something that is not visible or apparent.

The word ‘covert’ has its origins in the French language, in which it refers to something that is covered or obscure.

These include thoughts, dreams, reasoning, cognition, memories, etc. Such covert processes may or may not manifest into physical reality, where they become overt.

Examples of sentences that include ‘covert’ are –

“My mother tried very hard to keep the surprise covert, but she failed miserably”. (Covert is used in this sentence to imply that the surprise was hidden).

Main Differences Between Overt and Covert

  1. Overt behaviours include verbal expressions, facial expressions, and gestures while covert behaviours include mental processes.
  2. Something that is overt requires the participation of others while something that is covert does not.
Difference Between Overt and Covert

Conclusion

Overt and covert are antonyms that are used to describe the nature of actions, objects, and behaviours.

In behavioural studies, overt includes everything physically detectable like gestures and expressions whereas covert includes mental processes that are not visible to others.

An interesting aspect is that describing something using these words is all about perspective.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9612.00006
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=sBVGAYCh_9AC&oi=fnd&pg=PA245&dq=overt+vs+covert&ots=Qo2GY6bfRG&sig=jyegH2h_O-oOmub16y8RUL5vYCU
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