Courage may serve as an example for the difference between behavior trait and character trait. Courage as behavior trait might thus be described: a behavior of a person who in the pursuit of an aim is not easily deterred by danger to life, health, freedom. or property. Such a definition virtually covers all kinds of courageous behavior.

The picture, however, is different if we take into account the motivation―often unconscious―of acting courageously. A courageous person (for instance, a soldier in a war) can be motivated by dedication to his goal or sense of duty (…). But courage can also be motivated by vanity, the wish for recognition and admiration; or by suicidal tendencies in which loss of life might be desired even though unconsciously; or by lack of imagination, which makes the individual blind to dangers; or by the fear of being considered a coward. ― (1970b [with Michael Maccoby]: Social Character in a Mexican Village. A Sociopsychoanalytic Study, Englewood Cliffs (Prentice Hall) 1970, pp. 10f.)