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The term social behavior can have a numbe rof different meanings and emphases.

Social psychology

In social psychology the emphasis is on behavior between individuals and others, and on behaviour within social groups


In sociology, "behavior" itself means an animal-like activity devoid of social meaning or social context, in contrast to "social behavior" which has both. In a sociological hierarchy, social behavior is followed by social action, which is directed at other people and is designed to induce a response. Further along this ascending scale are social interaction and social relation.


In biology, social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. While many social behaviors are communication (provoke a response, or change in behavior, without acting directly on the receiver) communication between members of different species is not social behavior.

Among members of certain species, such as apes (Superfamily Hominoidea), horses (more broadly, Family Equidae), dogs and whales, young non-dominant males can spontaneously form bachelor groups or bachelor bands (see Fraternity). The corresponding social structure for females is the harem. Unlike the bachelor group, the harem is typically organized around a single dominant male.

Aspects of social behavior

Aspects of social behavior include:

See also


Further reading

Key texts


  • Harre, R. & Secord, P. (1972). The Explanation of Social Behavior. Oxford:Blackwell.


Additional material




External links

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