The Science of Cheating

Cheating on your significant other is taboo in almost all cultures, yet somehow adds flavour to the plot of movies and inspiration for countless songs about heartbreak. But why do people cheat in the first place? Is there a science behind it? Only about 3% of mammals are monogamous, meaning they stay with one partner their whole life – and humans fall into this category. From an evolutionary perspective it creates an advantage where one partner can protect the younglings while the other searches for food and provides resources. But somehow, extrapair mating or cheating is a fairly common human behaviour. The gene coding for a dopamine receptor plays a key role in cheating for men and women. Sometimes call the ‘happy hormone’, it’s released after pleasurable activities like exercise, eating food, and orgasming. And one study found that 50% of people who possess the long allele variant of this gene had cheated on their partner, compared to only 22% of people who have the short allele. The long allele participants also had a tendency to be risk-takers and succumb to addictive behaviors such as alcoholism. Perhaps the phrase ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ may have a basis in reality. Levels of the hormone vasopressin also play a role. Similar to oxytocin, which is sometimes called the ‘cuddle hormone’ vasopressin can affect trust, empathy and social bonding. increases the likelihood of it becoming monogamous! People with autism also have lower vasopressin over 7000 Finnish twins found that cheating women had a variant in the gene that codes for a vasopressin receptor, further suggesting that low levels of vasopressin have an influence on cheating. Money may also be a factor; males who earn significantly more than their female counterpart are more likely to cheat. But they’re also more likely to cheat on their wives if they are stay-at-home dads. Only when both partners have similar earning potential d o the chances of either cheating decrease significantly. Of course, many other life factors can lead to infidelity; from unresolved emotional issues, baggage from past relationships and…excessive alcohol intoxication. Unfortunately same-sex partnerships have not been studied enough to gain any clear insights, highlighting how scientific research continues to exclude specific minority groups. Either way, cheating is clearly based in biology and genetics for some of us, in spite of being a monogamous species. Special thanks to audible for supporting this episode and giving you a free audiobook at This week we wanted to recommend the book ‘SuperBetter’ where author and game designer Jane McGonigal explains how to cultivate greater resiliency in everyday life by using the mental strengths you apply to game-playing. You can get a free copy at or any others of your choice from a massive selection! We love them as they are great when you’re on the go. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

Michael Martin

100 Responses

  1. I Will Sincerely Say This…..If You Are TRULY In Love With Your Partner…..Cheating Will Not Happen. That's A Fact. Someone Can Tell You They Love You And Not Mean It…..Do Not Let It Fool You. If You Were A Victim Of Being Cheated On….You Were Not Truly Loved…Rather A Convenience To Them.

  2. 2:08 maybe the minority groups are not being excluded. Maybe scientists are finding difficult to reach the numbers of participants they need to obtain significative results that can be published. Afterall, they are in minor number

  3. So on an evolutionary stand point, if cheating is honored (to pass down efficient genes), why is it looked down upon in society?

  4. That's why the bible says to "deny the flesh" and "take up your cross daily." We all have a deficient gene somewhere whether it be sexual or other types of bad behavior we are more prone to being attracted to doing. But we must learn to control ourselves and seek help if we feel we can't cause giving in causes destruction not only in our own lives but in others around us.

  5. Don’t try to justify cheating especially if you entered a relationship with the promise of not cheating. If your go into a relationship with a monogamous individual then you know that they want you and you alone, they don’t want to share there love with anyone or anything but you.

  6. I hate cheaters because they’re insecure and garbage I will never respect cheaters I don’t give a shit about evolution or science
    Cheating is STILL wrong and immoral

  7. One word : RESPECT understand full what that term actually means. People specifically men seem to not fully comprehend the concept AT ALL.

  8. Cheating is bad thing both male and female who did this his or her partner feel so bad thats why its a bad work i think monogamous is the best whatever the science think what is the best but the honesty is more than better …

  9. Something tells me this video is supporting cheating and justifying the action for it to some degree. I believe the Science that say “if someone cheats it’s because they don’t love you, point blank.”

  10. Unbelievable but Truth!! I want to share with you all about my relationship breakup which almost lead me to frustration and unhappy life experience, I was married to my ex divorced wife 5years ago, My wife and I were living happily with our baby girl,but few months ago my wife started behaving strange to me, unknown to me that she have been engaging her self online with another man, who claims to love her. They met on social media,my wife still was keeping this as a secret to me, but few weeks ago I caught her on our computer messaging this man, and when I asked her who he was she told me that he is just a friend, the message conversation caught my attention and I decided to really through it, to my surprise my wife have been dating this man on my behalf for month's and they both have been hanging out, so immediately after I noticed that I began to quarrel and end up having misunderstanding, She told me that she never loved me and told me that we should go for a divorce, I thought she was saying it from anger due to what was happening in our room,after some time my wife told me that we should go for a divorce due to the love I had for her I never wanted to support it. I tried talking her down, although it happened I still did not give up on her to get her and my child back home, so I went in search on how I can get my wife back and how we can live in a happy marriage again. why trying to do that I did some search on the internet, well on my search I saw a YouTube testimony of a woman on how Dr IFA was able to restore back to her, her ex husband, immediately I copied the email address and decided to give a try, after all the procedures and instructions given to me by Dr IFA within the space of a week my wife gave me a call and started begging me that she was sorry for what has happened between us, due to the Love I had for her I quickly responded to her that I have forgiven her and told her to come back home, now my wife and I are living happy again, all respect and honor to Dr IFA for the Help you have render to me and my family sir I pray God Strengthen you…. if you need his help you can email him on ([email protected]).

  11. This video is very sad and I am forced to be alone with just my son until he moves out then I will become an airline attendant and meet men all over and I am so excited!!! Thanks my Genius plan! 💜😘❤️😝🤗💜

  12. Justifying cheating in a relationship with genetics … :/ Sorry man I’m going to have to dislike this video, I just can’t agree

  13. You could cheat in Fortnite, but it's wrong to cheat on a person. You should not let that person back into your life, even if they apologize. If they did it once, they will do it again.

  14. Why is it that in the past men would usually have many women but like god said it will be one man and one woman…? Obviously we are not all perfect and we will mess up because there is temptation and evil in this world and it can get anyone even if you think you won’t you could end up one day doing it and not believing yourself, cheating just hurts the other person so bad , that it’s why it’s seen as such a bad thing because of the trust that’s broken and the lack of respect some people are so use to having whoever they want that they normalize it until they realize that they actually hurt someone. The truth is that there’s more behind the action sometimes it comes from insecurity or not accepting yourself or needing validation that other people desire you because you don’t feel it in your relationship I don’t justify it but I do like to look more deeply into it because really good people sometimes mess up and do it and feel so much shame. We always say to dump them and leave but sometimes a good person makes one mistake because of lack of confidence in themselves or because they have weaker minds and that’s it and if they are working towards being a much better person and they never repeat the offense sometimes it’s good to forgive and try because absolutely no one is perfect and when we mess up on something we’d all want a second chance at it. But if a person does it constantly after you’ve addressed it once then yes that’s abuse and you should move on and try to be happy.

  15. Why is it so hard to stay loyal?!? If your bored or unsure break it off. Don’t go have an affair and come back and give sloppy seconds. 🤦🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️

  16. Lots of male bashing, what about women who cheat? I'm a victim of that XD 😅 hence my profile picture suggesting I'm still hurt and devastated over the fact 🖤 life lesson: focus on you before anyone else. Love yourself before you can love others, and never put anyone above yourself in life, sounds selfish but you come before moving on to others, because at the end of the day you only have yourself to come back to. Just my advise, don't rush into a relationship, get everything situated and goals accomplished before even accepting this matter. 🤷

  17. I've always dated multiple women.. One main gf and 1 or 2 "side" gfs. Eventually, a year or 2 down the line someone leaves for obvious reasons. Then I reshuffle the deck with a new gf. The variety keeps my life interesting and edgy. I'm in my 50s, been twice divorced have 3 adult children. Monogamy is nice. So is marriage. But what is the benefit to an independent man?

  18. It's interesting how big of a taboo cheating still is. To me somehow it is completely normal human behavior. It has always been done and it will always be done by people. We are just teached from the beginning, that only sexual fidelity is a sign of "real" love and that if you truly love someone, you could never cheat on them. But love and sexual desire can be completely different things. And both are such incredibly complex feelings, that it is impossible to set up rules, how they should be felt, that could work for everyone. We, as a society should be much more open to different ways of love, partnership and sexuality. I live in an open relationship with my boyfriend and I have cheated on him before. Still I respect and love him for the person he is and we have a very harmonious relationship. Humans are so much more diverse in what they are capable of feeling and we should stop surpressing that.

  19. Just been cheated on by a girl who wanted to be mine till the end. It hurt. This kind of science makes me the big sad.

  20. People who cheat should honestly just be in an open relationship with someone, so they don’t end up hurting their partner

  21. Not a single person in this comment section does not understand and will never TRY to understand the fact that human beings are not born monogamus.
    EVERYONE UNCONSCIOUSLY will start to imagine sexually a certain person they see in the streets,bus,club whatever,they will feel guilty after that and they will try to squish this imagination and acting to themselves like it didnt happen.
    That’s when nature tells you,you are not monogamus,monogamy it’s something made up from society for more structure. Humans are THE ONLY SPECIES who is FORCED to be MONOGAMUS.
    Thank you!

  22. i know good n well he didnt jus lie n say cheating is in our dna….cuz its not true…peoof is ppl that dont cheat. ITS A CHOICE NOT GENETIC. what are they gonna start saying homosexuality is genetic too? cuz that damn sure aint true in any way shape or form.

  23. I suspected my wife of cheating on me but I never had any proof. This went on for months, I didn't know what to do. i was so paranoid and decided to find a solution, i saw a recommendation about a private investigator and decided to contact him. I explained the situation about my wife to him and he said he was going to help me.I gave him all the informations he required and afterwards i received all my wife’s phones Text messages, whatsApp messages and calls, I was hurt when i saw a picture of my wife and her lover. I feel so bad about infidelity. but i am glad Mr james was able to help me get all this information, you can contact him via Gmail (worldcyberhackers) or whatsApp : +12678773020

  24. Checking on by your partner isn't what i'd suggest you stress yourself about, because, if you need to clear any suspicion regardless over what secretly take place in your relationship or marriage , then you should hire [email protected] OR HACKHAZARD on instagram. he performed all i demanded of him flawlessly, so i have to make mention of him . he paid tremendous attention to detail as a 1st class expert that he is when i contacted him. get in talk with him [email protected] or hackhazard on instagram

  25. I just found out my girlfriend has been cheating on me and now she is saying that they were just friends and now she is telling me that she loves me. Now she doesn't want to break up with me and now I'm finding out that she's been lying to me alot what should I do?

  26. All this infidelity is caused by the expanding hook up culture which people have really become more accustomed. Hooking up is very detrimental to the commitment of marriage. You see, if someone has had a dozen hook ups before marriage… there’s a bigger temptation to want to see other people which would always lead to more temptation to cheat. These people would find commitment more difficult because they were so accustomed to hooking up. The routines we carry on over a long period have a significant influence on our lifestyle.

  27. Do u need a professional hacker, contact him on whatsapp,( +1 650 246 9893 ), to hack all messages on social media platforms on his/her phone including emails also track calls, location and spy on the texts messages for a year

  28. Find out the truth about your spouse, know if they are cheating or not go to now.

  29. As someone who was cheated on, I have to say it's not worth the heartbreak.
    It's not worth a family being torn apart.

  30. I suspected my wife of cheating on me but I never had any proof. This went on for months, I didn't know what to do. i was so paranoid and decided to find a solution, i saw a recommendation about a private investigator and decided to contact him. I explained the situation about my wife to him and he said he was going to help me.I gave him all the informations he required and afterwards i received all my wife’s Iphones Text messages, whatsApp messages and calls, I was hurt when i saw a picture of my wife and her lover. I feel so bad about infidelity. but i am glad Mr james was able to help me get all this information, you can contact him via Gmail (worldcyberhackers) or whatsApp : +12678773020

  31. Cheat on what? We are all only humans. Those concepts such as married were created by us and don't mean anything.

  32. when all is said and done we are not instinctive animal but function mostly on intellect and reason. the choice is always yours , if you cheat you chose your own desire over the sanctity of the union and are a piece of shit.

  33. What kind of hormone makes them say " we didn't mean to hurt you", "she's actually a good person" and other similar bullshit ?

  34. I feel no one deserves to be in a relationship with a narcissist they are terrible people that feel entitled thank God for my friend who referred me to an hacker and i was able to hack my partner's phone, all i did was to share his phone number with (geniustracker) without touching his phone and see all the proofs i needed for a divorce and even terrible things they had planned contact him to help he is a genius. You can text/call +1 (415) 323-6758 or reach him on WhatsApp +1 (724) 330-3252 and also write to Via Gmail (geniustracker701) don't forget to thank me later…

  35. Smartness is important in a relationship and cyberhackinggenius helped cloned my husband’s phone and I got access to all his dealings both on phone and social media without touching his phone. All I did was share my husband’s phone number with Cyberhackinggenius and I was able to read both his new and deleted messages from my phone without having to touch his phone. My husband was a cheating Narcissist and I’m glad to find out all his secrets and infidelity with the help of cyberhackinggenius. I’m here in UK and able to access my husband’s phone messages with a link on my phone even while he was away in Canada cheating on me. I got to discover that my husband who is legally married to me here in UK is also recently married to another woman in Canada and I’m finally going through a divorce with lots of evidence against him. You can contact this great Hacker Gavin via Gmail  (cyberhackinggenius) or text and speak to him directly on his phone and WhatsApp : +19256795146 and don’t forget to thank me later.

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