Cheaters, you were born with it. A recent study suggests your (or your ex’s) wandering eye could be due to a specific gene.
The latest cheating scandal is always an eye-catching headline whether it’s condemning a celebrity, politician or some other public figure. Public apologies to the scorned partner follow closely behind the media attention, as well as excuses for the indiscretion. But there could be a new reason to blame for that behaviour.
In an article from the Toronto Star, researchers at Binghamton University in New York suggest the tendency to cheat is related to a variant in the DRD4 gene, "which encodes for how the D4 dopamine receptors in our brains function." This same gene is also linked to other thrill-seeking behaviour such as gambling, drug use and skydiving.
For the study, researchers issued questionnaires to 181 young adults about their sexual histories and took DNA samples to compare with the reported actions of each participant. According to the article, “they found that those with longer alleles ‘ parts of a gene that can control traits, such as eye colour ‘ on the DRD4 gene were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex.”
Despite these findings, Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist and lead author of the study, told the Star, that having the gene does not mean someone will commit infidelity. "We’re never prisoners of our genes," he said. “We know that biology shapes our differences, helps explain what motivates us and what we desire. But over millions of years, humans have evolved big brains that allow us to make decisions. We always have the ability to say, ‘I’m not going to do this.'”
So before we blame it all on genetics, it seems willpower, love and devotion still play a factor (the most important, if you ask me) in the success of our relationships and whether we cheat, or someone we love cheats on us.
What do you think? Can cheaters help themselves? Or will the results of this study simply provide a new scapegoat for cheaters?