Behavior Identification Form

Any behavior can be described in many ways. For example, one person might describe a behavior as “writing a paper,” while another person might describe the same behavior as “pushing keys on the keyboard.” Yet another person might describe it as “expressing thoughts.” This form focuses on your personal preferences for how a number of different behaviors should be described. Below you will find several behaviors listed. After each behavior will be two different ways in which the behavior might be identified.

For example: Attending class

  • sitting in a chair
  • looking at a teacher

Your task is to choose the identification, a or b, that best describes the behavior for you. Simply place a checkmark next to the option you prefer. Be sure to respond to every item. Please mark only one alternative for each pair. Remember, mark the description that you personally believe is more appropriate for each pair.

Making a list

  • Getting organized*
  • Writing things down


  • Following lines of print
  • Gaining knowledge*

Joining the Army

  • Helping the Nation’s defence*
  • Signing up

Washing clothes

  • Removing odors from clothes*
  • Putting clothes into the machine

Picking an apple

  • Getting something to eat*
  • Pulling an apple off a branch

Chopping down a tree

  • Wielding an axe
  • Getting firewood*

Measuring a room for carpeting

  • Getting ready to remodel*
  • Using a yard stick

Cleaning the house

  • Showing one’s cleanliness*
  • Vacuuming the floor

Painting a room

  • Applying brush strokes
  • Making the room look fresh*

Paying the rent

  • Maintaining a place to live*
  • Writing a check

Caring for houseplants

  • Watering plants
  • Making the room look nice*

Locking a door

  • Putting a key in the lock
  • Securing the house*


  • Influencing the election*
  • Marking a ballot

Climbing a tree

  • Getting a good view*
  • Holding on to branches

Filling out a personality test

  • Answering questions
  • Revealing what you’re like*


  • Preventing tooth decay*
  • Moving a brush around in one’s mouth

Taking a test

  • Answering questions
  • Showing one’s knowledge*

Greeting someone

  • Saying hello
  • Showing friendliness*

Resisting temptation

  • Saying “no”
  • Showing moral courage*


  • Getting nutrition*
  • Chewing and swallowing

Growing a garden

  • Planting seeds
  • Getting fresh vegetables*

Traveling by car

  • Following a map
  • Seeing countryside*

Having a cavity filled

  • Protecting your teeth*
  • Going to the dentist

Talking to a child

  • Teaching a child something*
  • Using simple words

Pushing a doorbell

  • Moving a finger
  • Seeing if someone’s home*


  • Items marked with a * are higher-level alternatives.
  • Total score is the sum of higher level alternative choices.

Reference Information

We continuously update our database. Please contact us to suggest references we have missed, or suggest an edit to an existing reference.

Paper(s) Using Method

Big Picture Is Better: The Social Implications of Construal Level for Advice Taking

Research Paper by Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Batia Wiesenfeld, and Yaacov Trope.
Published in "Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes" in 2016.

Levels of Personal Agency: Individual Variation in Action Identification

Research Paper by Robin Vallacher and Daniel Wegner.
Published in "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 1989.

Self–Other Decision Making and Loss Aversion

Research Paper by Evan Polman.
Published in "Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes" in 2012.

Feeling Depleted and Powerless: The Construal-Level Mechanism

Research Paper by Junha Kim, Sujin Lee, and Tuvana Rua.
Published in "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin" in 2015.

Construing in a Crowd: The Effects of Social Crowding on Mental Construal

Research Paper by Ahreum Maeng and Robin Tanner.
Published in "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology" in 2013.

You Focus on the Forest When You’re in Charge of the Trees: Power Priming and Abstract Information Processing

Research Paper by Pamela Smith and Yaacov Trope.
Published in "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 2006.

Getting It Done and Getting It Right: Leader Disciplinary Reactions to Followers’ Moral Transgressions Are Determined by Construal Level Mindset

Research Paper by David De Cremer, Gijs van Houwelingen, and Marius van Dijke.
Published in "Leadership Quarterly" in 2015.

APA-Format Citation

Vallacher, R. R., & Wegner, D. M. (1989). Levels of personal agency: Individual variation in action identification. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 57(4), 660-671.