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Behavior and Performance

Behavior is observable activity - Rossett & Sheldon, 2001)

The manner in which a thing acts under specified conditions or circumstances, or in relationship to other things (behaviour as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary).

Gilbert (1998) said that performance has two aspects — behavior being the means and its consequence being the end.

As Pinker notes (1997), behavior itself did not evolve, what evolved was the mind. Behavior is the outcome of an internal struggle among many mental models that are defined by other people's behavior. That is, what we perceive defines what we believe. And this belief or perception is what guides our behavior. However, belief is strongly influenced by what we are thinking, what we know, and the surrounding environment at the time.

Behavior often has a large impact in learning/performance environments due to the influence of behaviorism. Although they are different concepts, they do influence each other.


Gilbert, T. (1998). A Leisurely Look at Worthy Performance. The 1998 ASTD Training and Performance Yearbook. Woods, J. & Gortada, J. (editors). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pinker, Steven (1997). How the Mind Works. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Rossett, Allison & Sheldon, Kendra (2001). Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, p. 67.