Expressive and Coping Behavior

Maslow (1970) distinguished between expressive behavior (which is often unmotivated) and coping behavior (which is always motivated and aimed at satisfying a need).

Expressive behavior is often an end hi itself and serves no other purpose than to be. It is frequently unconscious and usually takes place naturally and with little effort. It has no goals or aim but is merely the person's mode of expression. Expressive behavior includes such actions as slouching, looking stupid being relaxed showing anger, and expressing joy. Expressive behavior can continue even hi the absence of reinforcement or reward. For example, a frown, a blush, or a twinkle of the eye are not ordinarily specifically rehiforced.

Expressive behaviors also include one's gait, gestures, voice, and smile (even when alone). A person, for example, may express a methodical, compulsive personality shnply because she is what she is and not because of any need to do so. Other examples of expression include art, play, enjoyment, appreciation, wonder, awe, and excitement. Expressive behavior is usually unlearned spontaneous, and determined by forces within the person rather than by the environment.

On the other hand coping behavior is ordinarily conscious, effortful, learned and determined by the external environment. It involves the individual's attempts to cope with the environment; to secure food and shelter; to make friends; and to receive acceptance, appreciation, and prestige from others. Coping behavior serves some aim or goal (although not always conscious or known to the person), and it is always motivated by some deficit need (Maslow, 1970).

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Responses

  • helen
    Is expressive behavior often unmotivated?
    5 years ago
  • mimosa
    What is expressive coping?
    3 years ago

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