Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms, typically from the same species. Social behavior is exhibited by a wide range of organisms including social bacteria, slime moulds, social insects, social shrimp, naked mole-rats, and humans.[1]

In sociology

Sociology is the scientific or academic study of social behavior, including its origins, development, organization, and institutions.[2]

Research has shown that a variety of animals, including humans, share similar types of social behavior such as aggression and bonding. Even species with less complex brains, such as ants, may have behaviors serving similar general functions. Even though humans and animals share some aspects of social behavior, human social behavior is generally more complex.[3]

In psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.[4] In psychology, social behaviour is referred to human behaviour. It covers behaviours ranging from physical to emotional that we communicate in and also the way we are influenced by ethics, attitudes, genetics and culture etc.[5]


The types of social behaviour include the following:

Collective animal behavior

Collective animal behavior involves the coordinated behavior of large groups of similar animals as well as emergent properties of these groups.

Aggressive behaviour

Violent and bullying behaviour are two types of aggressive behaviour, their outcomes are extremely similar. These outcomes include affiliation, gaining attention, power and control.[6] Aggressive behaviour is a type of social behaviour that can potentially cause or threaten physical or emotional harm. People who suffer from aggressive behaviour are most likely to be irritable, impulsive and restless, which is why this type of behaviour can range from verbal abuse to damaging victim property. Although, an outburst of aggression is highly common. Aggressive behaviour on the other hand is always deliberate, and occurs either habitually or in a pattern. The one way to handle aggressive behaviour is to understand what the cause is. The following can influence aggressive behaviour:

  • Family structure
  • Relationships
  • Work or school environment
  • Health conditions
  • Psychiatric issues
  • Life issues

In children

Poor parenting skills is one of the most common reasons why children are aggressive. Biological factors and lack of relationship skills are a couple to name. As children grow up, in many cases they tend to imitate behaviour from their elders such as violence or aggression. Aggressive behaviour can be irritating, and to stop a child from doing such, they receive attention for it from their parents, teachers or peers. However, there can be times where parents are not aware of when such behaviour is occurring and unknowingly reward it; they are encouraging the child. Aggressive behaviour can lead onto bipolar disorders.[7]

In adults

Adults can also suffer from aggressive behaviour, these can develop over time, from undesirable life experiences or an illness. Disorders such as depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder tend to have aggressive behaviour but this is unintentionally exposed. However, those without any recent underlying medical or emotional disorder, frustration is the answer to their aggressive behaviour. Emotional behaviour can also trigger aggression when someone stops caring about others.[7]

Violent behaviour

An individual that threatens or physically harms another individual is classified as violent behaviour. Violent behaviour usually starts off with verbal abuse but then escalates to physical harm such as hitting or hurting.

In children

Violence is learned behaviour, just like aggressive behaviour, children imitate what they see from their elders.

There are many reasons to what triggers violence abuse, these include the following:

  • Childhood abuse
  • History of violent behaviour
  • Use of drugs such as cocaine
  • History of arrests
  • Mental health problems, bipolar disorder
  • Presence of firearms in the household
  • Genetic factors
  • Brain damage from accident
  • Exposure to violence in media
  • Socioeconomic factors such as poverty, single parenting, marital breakups, unemployment etc.[8]

Violent behaviour is similar to aggressive behaviour, it is either habitually or occurs in a pattern. The concept for violent behaviour is very simple, at first there is tension and conflict. This is then followed by either destruction of the individuals properties and then abuse. This pattern gets worse over time which is why it is best to recognise the pattern as it may prevent violence from happening again.[9]

Behavioural and developmental disorders

  • Expressive language disorder, a condition where the child/adult has an issue with expressing themselves in speech.
  • Seizure disorder, a neurological disorder that can possibly cause spasms minor physical signs or several symptoms combined that cannot be controlled by the brain.
  • Down syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality condition that changes over the course of development.
  • Attention deficit disorder, a common neurobehavioral disorder that has problems with over-activity, impulsivity, inattentiveness or possibly even a combination.
  • Bipolar disorder, a form of mood disorder characterised by a variation of moods that can change within minutes.
  • Autism spectrum disorder, a condition that affects social interaction, interests, behaviour and communication.[10]
  • Cerebral palsy, a condition caused by the brain that activates shortly after birth. It affects movement, abnormal speech, hearing and visual impairments and mental retardation.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Social Behavior - Biology Encyclopedia - body, examples, animal, different, life, structure, make, first". www.biologyreference.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  2. ^ sociology. (n.d.). The American Heritage Science Dictionary. Retrieved 13 July 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sociology
  3. ^ Genetic Determinants of Self Identity and Social Recognition in Bacteria. Washington: Karine A. Gibbs, Mark L. Urbanowski, E. Peter Greenberg. 2008. pp. 256–9. 
  4. ^ Allport, G. W (1985). "The historical background of social psychology". In Lindzey, G; Aronson, E. The Handbook of Social Psychology. New York: McGraw Hill. p.5
  5. ^ "Psychology Glossary. Psychology definitions in plain English". www.alleydog.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  6. ^ Zirpoli, T.J (2008). "Excerpt from Behavior Management: Applications for Teachers,". http://www.education.com/reference/article/aggressive-behavior/: 1.  External link in journal= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Aggressive Behavior". Healthline. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Understanding Violent Behavior In Children and Adolescents". www.aacap.org. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  9. ^ "Violent Behaviour - HealthLinkBC". www.healthlinkbc.ca. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  10. ^ Choices, NHS. "Autism spectrum disorder - NHS Choices". www.nhs.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Other Developmental Disorders". www.firstsigns.org. Retrieved 2015-11-02.