Why Do We Cheat?—Video Explores The Scientific Theories Behind Why People Have Affairs

Most people would probably agree that cheating on your partner is wrong, totally wrong. But according to this episode of Bustle's video series Love, Factually up to 30% of Americans have admitted to it.

So why the heck do people do it?

Host Anna Parsons explores three various reasons why, which are explained by biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher and evolutionary biologist Dr. David Barash.

The first theory is that monogamy isn't a natural thing for humans to do, so cheating is just tapping into a natural urge to spread our DNA or ensure security by building different relationships. But just because it doesn't come naturally doesn't mean to say we shouldn't try to do it. Much like we learn the violin we can also learn to be monogamous.

The second theory is it's in some people's genes to cheat, specifically a gene called DRD4 which is a thrill-seeking gene that is involved in producing dopamine, a hormone produced by our brain when we experience things we enjoy. The gene comes in different sizes in different people and people with a longer DRD4 gene need more stimulation to produce dopamine—studies have shown that these people are more likely to cheat.

The final reason is that our brain systems make us cheat, the sex drive, romantic love, and deep attachment sections sometimes come in to conflict with one another. Say that you might have a deep attachment for a certain person, but your sex drive brain system is thinking of someone else.

Watch the video for full explanations.

None of it it makes cheating any more excusable, but maybe we just need to accept that as long as humans have long-term relationships with one another, some people are going to cheat.


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