When the Going Gets Tough, Men Cheat More

      October 18, 2011 13:29

      A new study shows a correlation between worsening economic situations and a surge in male infidelity. When they are faced with a threatening environment, men tend to fixate on short-term rather than long-term relationships, researchers found. They said this phenomenon stems from the male instinct to "preserve his species."

      Omri Gillath and his colleagues at the University of Kansas studied the tendencies of men when they felt threatened. Researchers divided their subjects into two groups. They told one group that they were going to die due to a serious illness, and the other that they were just suffering from toothache.

      Then both groups were shown sexual images and non-sexual images on computer screens to see how they responded.

      The first group showed a more rapid sexual response to the explicit photos -- their heartbeats accelerated faster -- compared to the ones who thought they just needed to visit a dentist. Neither showed any significant reaction to the non-sexual pictures.

      Men are "biologically wired to reproduce, and the environment tells [them] the best strategy to use to make sure [their] genes are passed on," Gillath said in a statement.

      The researchers explained that the results can be more widely applied to other life-threatening situations, suggesting men feel not only at risk by health problems, but also economic hardships and other external uncertainties.

      The study will be published in the November edition of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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