The main difference between overt and covert is that overt means openly, whereas covert means hidden or not shown openly.
Overt and covert are antonyms, so this means they are two words having opposite meanings. These are two adjectives we use to describe actions, behaviours, and objects. Overt describes something that is done openly, whereas covert describes something that is hidden, not in the open, or not acknowledged. Furthermore, some psychologists have categorized human behaviour into two categories based on observable and non-observable behaviours. We call these two categories overt behaviour and covert behaviour.
Key Areas Covered
1. What Does Overt Mean
– Definition, Meaning, Behaviour, Examples
2. What Does Covert Mean
– Definition, Meaning, Behaviour, Examples
3. What is the Relationship Between Overt and Covert
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Overt and Covert
– Comparison of Key Differences
Overt – Definition, Meaning, Behaviour, Examples
Overt is an adjective that describes something done or shown openly. Thus, it is something easily observable. This word actually originates from the French word ouvert, meaning open. Moreover, the adverb form of overt is overtly whereas there is also a noun form – overtness.
Let’s now look at some example sentences containing the adjective overt to see how it is used and what it means:
It was not an overt message; there was a hidden message in his words.
The overt hostility shown by the native youth worried the authorities.
She did not show any overt sign of her unhappiness.
His behaviour was taken as an overt act of aggression.
Getting a tattoo was his first overt act of rebellion against his father.
Overt behaviour refers to behaviour or actions that are easily and directly observable. Physical actions like walking, shaking hands with someone, hitting someone, talking, as well as, facial expressions (smile, smirk, frown, etc.) and bodily gestures (nail-biting, tilting the head, slouching, etc.) are examples of overt behaviours.
Covert – Definition, Meaning, Behavior, Examples
Covert has the opposite meaning of overt. It means not openly displayed or acknowledged. Covert can also mean concealed, disguised and covered. The origin of covert is the French word covert, which means covered. Moreover, the adverb form of covert is covertly.
Let’s now look at some examples of sentences containing this adjective.
The commander planned a covert mission to infiltrate the enemy camp.
All covert operations were cancelled after the change of government.
The Duke provided covert funding for the rebels.
Jefferson has taken part in a number of covert military operations.
Covert behaviour refers to human behaviour that cannot be observed. Mental processes such as thinking, reasoning, dreaming, retrieving memories, and glandular responses are covert behaviours. In addition, these cannot be seen or heard by anyone.
Although covert behaviours are not observable, they play a major role in overt behaviour. This is because our covert behaviours greatly determine and influence our overt behaviour. In fact, our physical actions and verbal behaviours are a product of our mental processes. For example, when we talk to someone, we use covert behaviours like thinking, reasoning retrieving memory of the past, etc. Thus, overt and covert behaviour are intricately linked together.
Relationship Between Overt and Covert
- Overt and covert are two adjectives that have opposite meanings, i.e., they are antonyms.
- Since our physical actions and verbal behaviours are a product of our mental processes, covert behaviours greatly determine and influence overt behaviour.
Difference Between Overt and Covert
Overt is an adjective that describes something done or shown openly, whereas covert is an adjective that describes something not openly displayed or acknowledged.
Overt behaviour refers to behaviour or actions that are easily and directly observable, whereas covert behaviour refers to behaviour that is not observable.
Type of Behavior
Moreover, overt behaviour includes physical actions, facial expressions and gestures, whereas covert behaviour includes mental processes.
Examples of Behavior
Examples of overt behaviour include running, dancing, arguing, smiling, frowning, etc. whereas examples of covert behaviour include thinking, dreaming, glandular responses, etc.
The main difference between overt and covert is that overt means openly whereas covert means hidden or not shown openly. Furthermore, in psychology, human behaviour is categorized into two categories as overt behaviour and covert behaviour; overt behaviour is behaviour that is observable, whereas covert behaviour is behaviour that is not observable.
1. Praveen Shrestha, “Overt vs Covert Behavior,” in Psychestudy, November 17, 2017, Available here.