Behavior, Function of

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The function of behavior is always to preserve the integrity or unity of the individual who is trying to satisfy his needs oriented by registers of pain or pleasure. The non­satisfaction of a need generates pain which is registered as an increase in tension.

The registers of pain and pleasure, and not "need" itself, determine one's behavior. From another point of view, when the consciousness is faced with the world, it tends to compensate the world in a structural way by organizing a system of responses which we call behavior or conduct. These responses may be either reflexive or delayed, depending on whether they are made immediately or later on. One's response may instead be internal and not go out into the world, in which case it acts internally upon one's own body.

Compensating behavior may also be set in motion by an image that has previously mobilized the centers of response. In the case of the nucleus of reveries (See), which is not an image itself, what acts is an image which compensates this nucleus and not the nucleus itself directly.