Hmmm, I guess like every other generalized situation, the answer is "it depends".
If I expect someone to bet, given the situation, and they don't, then maybe that means 1) they don't know that it's a good situation for then to bet, or 2) they have something and they're slowplaying it, or 3) they have little or nothing, think maybe they should be betting, but can't bring themselves to do so, or 4) they only bet when they think they might have the best hand.
In a recent game I noticed someone who, almost every time the flop was scary (a pair, 3 suited, 3 connected), he would bet fairly big at it, regardless of his position. Because I noticed it, when I had something I wouldn't be afraid to play since I figured there was a decent chance he was just trying to chase everyone out and take the pot then and there. But, I would only do so when I had a leg to stand on, so he still won a number of those pots. My objective was to try to take him deep when I did have something to offset those preflop bets I was losing.
Maybe he read that advice that says that the person who bets first at a pot usually wins it.
But you're right, medeiros13, other factors come into it. If you read the other players as weak, a position bet at a scary flop might win it. An information bet (say, top pair with a flop of 3 suited to see if your hand is good) is another option. I raised preflop with KK, bet at a flop that included an ace, was reraised, and folded. The raiser showed he had paired the ace.