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New research reveals the likelihood of cheating on a significant other might be predetermined by parents’ infidelity. The study, conducted at the Texas Tech University and University of Nevada, suggests cheating may run in families.
Nearly 300 participants’ survey responses were analyzed to see if a correlation existed between parents’ infidelity and one’s own tendency to cheat.
When asked if they had ever been unfaithful, 30% of the participants admitted to cheating on a partner, and 33% revealed that one or both of their parents had committed adultery.
Researchers also found that students who had cheated on a partner were twice as likely to have a parent who had cheated as well. An estimated 44% of the participants who had cheated also had parents who cheated, compared to the 22% of students who had never committed the act.
The results suggest that having an unfaithful parent increases the chances of their children’s likeliness to cheat.
Surprisingly, the students who were surveyed revealed that their perspective on the act of cheating did not change depending on whether they had a parent who cheated or not. Participants who had parents who cheated were no more likely to perceive infidelity as acceptable.
The findings lead to questions of whether there is a “cheating gene” that plays a role in influencing behavior. A previous study from Finland examined twins and discovered evidence that a woman’s faithfulness may be affected by genetics. The “cheating gene” is believed to be a vasopressin receptor that plays a role in affecting empathy and sexual bonding in animals.