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Behavioral Drift

Date of Publication:



The continual re-establishment of new, often unstated, and unofficial standards of behavior in an unintended direction.  It often occurs as established, official standards of behavior are not enforced.  Ambiguous guidance, poor supervision, and lack of training and oversight contribute to this change in observed standards.  Certain psychological and social pressures can greatly increase the likelihood of behavioral drift.  This phenomenon is commonly observed in detention and other settings in which individuals have control or power over others’ activities of daily living or general functioning.  Behavioral drift is detrimental to the mission and may occur very quickly without careful oversight mechanisms and training.

Source of Definition:

DODI 2310.09 Behavioral Science Support in Detainee Operations and Intelligence Interrogations

Related Glossary Terms:

Behavioral Drift

Last Updated: September 14, 2022
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