Difference between Innate and Learned Behavior

Behavior is something that arises as a response to a stimulus that someone gets. This stimulus can be both external or internal, however, once this stimulus is created it leads to some actions or reactions, which justify your behavior. There are two types of behaviors which everyone carries out. These are innate and learned behaviors.

Innate behavior is often confused with learned behavior, however, the two are quite different. Innate behavior refers to the behavior which people don’t need to be taught. It is the actions and reactions which people carry out naturally, without anyone telling them what to do.

One example which can be used here, is that of a crying child. Now when a baby is born, he is unable to speak for a couple of years. However, it still looks to communicate with you even though if can’t talk. The only way for it to do so, is to catch your attention by crying. Now no one has ever taught the child how to cry, it is a behavior which the child has been born with. This time of behavior is known as innate behavior.

Now learned behavior refers to anything and everything that someone learns over a period of time. It is not something which they just know how to do. In order to better understand this, we need to realize that things like talking, communicating, walking, running and jumping are all examples of learned behavior. All of these actions which are being carried out, are done by the person after they go on and learn it over a period of time.

Even though crying is an innate behavior, timing yourself and figuring out just when to cry so that it could benefit you can be placed under the learned behavior category.

Related: How to Create a Positive Behavior Modification Plan


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    Innate Behavior:

    This is the type of behavior that someone is born with, it is not something which they learn and it is actions which they can carry out from the day that they are born.

    These vary greatly from learned behavior.

    Related: How to Change Someone Else’s Behavior

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    Learned Behavior:

    This is why you learn how to act and behave in certain situations and places over a period of time. It is not something that you were born knowing how to do. In fact, it is something which you spend time learning how to do.

    It varies from innate behavior in the sense that it doesn't come naturally to you, but in fact you have to teach it to yourself.

    Related: Stop the Self Destructive Behaviors