past behaviour is an indicator of future behaviour

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“The best predictor of future behavior is … past behavior”

Is it true that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior? Or, can people really change?

The Best Predictor of Future Behavior


“Although it might seem that references are a good way to find out about people, past behaviour is not a good predictor of future behaviour.

People are not billiard balls that operate in accordance with laws of physics. People have free will and can change their behaviour depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. Most importantly, we can learn from our mistakes and grow as people by learning from them. Not hiring somebody who has made a mistake in the past could mean that you miss out on hiring a person with a high level of maturity and an ability to adapt.

Comment by Peter Prevos — June 26, 2010 @ 4:01 pm”
#19 How Trustworthy Is That Person? Four Considerations
“Reputation does not consider the fact that trust is situational

We tend to assume that because an individual has been trustworthy in the past, that he or she is more likely to be trustworthy in the future. Numerous experiments indicate that a person’s past behaviour is not a reliable predictor of future behaviour. The concern should not be about whether the person has been trustworthy, but whether the person is likely to behave in the future in a trustworthy manner to you.

Here is what happened in one experiment that indicates how situational trustworthiness may be. Before playing a computer game that could be observed for cheating by researchers, subjects were given a pair of sunglasses. Some were told the glasses were designer glasses, others were told the same glasses were knock offs. Those who were told the glasses were designer glasses cheated 30 percent of the time; whereas, those told the glasses were knock offs cheated 70 percent of the time.”
Philosophy by the Way
“This is only one instance of what we call trust. Trust is a kind of promise. It says that you will not let your interests prevail at the cost of the interests of the person who trusts you. Trust can be expressed in words, for example by saying “You can trust me” or by behaviour that shows that you can be trusted. Although past behaviour is not a guarantee for what you will do in future, behaviour in the past that undermined that you were trustworthy tends to undermine that you can be trusted in the future.”