IC-Behavior: an interdisciplinary taxonomy of behaviors

Kai R. Larsen*, Lauren J. Ramsay, Cristina A. Godinho, Victoria Gershuny, Dirk S. Hovorka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Academic disciplines are often organized according to the behaviors they examine. While most research on a behavior tends to exist within one discipline, some behaviors are examined by multiple disciplines. Better understanding of behaviors and their relationships should enable knowledge transfer across disciplines and theories, thereby dramatically improving the behavioral knowledge base. We propose a taxonomy built on the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), but design the taxonomy as a stand-alone extension rather than an improvement to ICF. Behaviors considered important enough to serve as the dependent variable in articles accepted for publication in top journals were extracted from nine different behavioral and social disciplines. A six-step development and validation process was employed, leading to the final taxonomy. A hierarchy of behaviors under the top banner of Engaging in activities/participating, reflective of ICF’s D. hierarchy was constructed with eight immediate domains addressing behaviors ranging from learning, exercising, self-care, and substance use. The resulting International Classification of Behaviors (IC-Behavior), provides a behavior taxonomy targeted towards the interdisciplinary integration of nomological networks relevant to behavioral theories. While IC-Behavior has been labeled v.1.0 to communicate that it is by no means an endpoint, it has empirically shown to provide flexibility for the addition of new behaviors and is tested in the health domain.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0252003
Number of pages23
JournalPLoS one
Issue number9 September
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021


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