Lv 7
Glinda asked in Social ScienceGender Studies · 8 years ago

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

Such as, a cheater. If they have cheated in the past, but now say they are sorry, they'll never do it again, are they more likely to cheat in the long run since they have that history?

Or an abuser, or an alcoholic, or a drug user, or a chronic liar.

Once a man/woman has shown a pattern of this in their lives, can they really change, in your opinion?

11 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Cliche answer: Depends on the individual.

    However it still rings true as many people may have done some regrettable things in their past but that doesn't automatically mean they are that way now or that they will repeat the same behaviour so long as they have learned from their mistakes and have found something more positive to do with their lives today.

    I personally believe that many people who repeat the same behaviour today as they did in the past is because their circumstances have not changed hence they have not changed. Take some of the success stories from former gang members, drug addicts for example - they did bad things in the past and have devoted the rest of their lives to helping others not make the same mistakes they did.

    Source(s): Sorry if answer is super long.
  • 8 years ago

    Everyone knows that an addict will always be an addict, but they CAN be a 'recovering' addict. I think the reason for this is that drug cravings are so strong that they will pop up from time to time & a person has to be very strong psychologically to not cave into their temptation.

    But I have known many addicts who have gone the rest of their lives w/o drugs, but they have said that they still have cravings from time to time. This includes alcoholics.

    As for a chronic liar, I'm not sure.

    Abusers definitely can be a habit that is reformable.

    And sexual cheaters can be reformed too. I use to be a habitual cheater & I have reformed. But I have to say that I was brought to a low point before I reformed. I think it had to be this way otherwise I would probably never have reformed.

    Now 'cheating' is not a pathological behaviour, IMO. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule--such is the case of pathological spenders or pathological exercisers or people with eating disorders--but I think in most cases, people who cheat on others are just not ready to settle down with one person. At least, that's how it was with me.

    And then you got to consider the normal psychological processes that happen in life, like the Quarter-Life Crises, the Mid-Life Crises, death of friends & relatives, major upsets in life like the death of a child, etc. These are times when some people who may not normally cheat, DO cheat.

    But these are normal happenstances & should not be lumped in with habitual behaviours.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    First off, behavior is indicative of the mind's process and action. These are pretty much set after puberty as the brain matures and synaptic pruning has taken place. The brain, in effect, begins its slow descent towards degradation, in the synaptic sense. We become used to doing things certain ways. When Dr. Phil is refferring to past behavior, he is not taking into account the stuff that is contrary to this, but most of what we do is rooted in what we did in the past. I have an idiot dog who keeps going back to this b*tch dog, we'll call him matt. The b*tch dog may treat him like crap and never reciprocat his love but oh well, when she calls, that idiot dog comes running back to the b*tch dog. So I would say that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. True.

  • 8 years ago

    Generally speaking people don't change but there are exceptions. It requires a lot of effort, introspection, honesty and a strong understanding of why change is needed. I'm one that has changed and continue too, however it has been a lifetime work and struggle with many, many failures along the way. Behaviour is an indicator of deeper conflicts and struggles that are complex and confusing, not to mention scary, intense, and painful. Unless the inner discordant thoughts are recognised and changed, behaviour remains. And this is by no means easy, as it means self understanding and acceptance no less. But to those who genuinely want to be better because the old way doesn't work anymore and they see that they simply must change or els, they will do whats required. And, it is they who will experience joy and depth of meaning to life. You must live in your own Hell before you can live in your own Heaven.

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  • 8 years ago

    "Is it true that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior?"

    The first time I heard this is when I saw that idiot Dr. Phil present this idea as irrefutable fact on his Oprah sponsored tabloid TV program.

    I believe it is nonsense and a very harsh way of *branding* people who have made mistakes and in many cases have paid for them.

    The examples you give are way more complicated than simply enquiring as to character because most people are tempted by sex and alcoholism and addiction is a disease often characterised by relapse in recovey on the way to being well again. Chronic lying is also a potential sympstom of an emotional or psychological issue.

    I think it is sad an inappropriate to brand people for life based on previous bad experiences or mistakes - it negates the idea of self-improvement and rehabilitation.

    Simply writing people off is not a good thing. I believe in people and their potential.

    Every case is individual and some people will change.

    The answers here are kinda depressing in their lack of belief in the power of will and that which is inherent in human nature.

  • 8 years ago

    Sure, people can change. But if they are telling you about their bad past, that's like telling an employer at a job interview that you did jail time for embezzling from your last employer.

    A cheater (or anyone on the dating scene) should not be talking about past relationships.

    Dating Rule: Talking about negative things will not make the person like you more.

    Source(s): SGM
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Its a generalisation and not meant to be taken literally. The best way to predict a persons future behavior is by their past really saying that Generally speaking..a bad person is a bad person and a good person is a good person...and rarely does this change.)))

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Raytheon is betting on this being true.

    If it's not true, then we have nothing to worry about from this software Raytheon is building. However, if the software works as intended, then I think it's safe to say "once a cheat, always a cheat."

  • 8 years ago

    I think they can really change. I wouldn't believe it just because they say they've changed,I would have to look at their behavior from that point on.

  • 8 years ago

    Mostly no, people don't change. If they did a bad thing knowing its consequences, they will do it again

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