Monday, February 1, 2016

Studies Show Correlation Between Infidelity and Genes

Marital infidelity is an issue we are all familiar with and often it is just sees as a poor life decision. In recent studies, researchers have found that some people are more inclined to cheat than others due to mutations in certain receptor genes. It has long been believed that men cheat because they can increase their chances of having more offspring. While this evolution theory may hold some relevance, more evidence seems to point to variations of the vasopressin receptor gene.

Vasopressin and oxytocin are both hormones that play a role in sexual bonding and attraction. When a study was carried out recently with 7,400 Finnish twins and their siblings surprising results were found. Out of the people in the study who had cheated, links between promiscuous behavior and vasopressin were only found in women. Dr. Zietsch, the psychologist who was in charge of the study, stated that there are many circumstances that contribute to infidelity but about 40% could be linked back to genetics. In a different study, relations between oxytocin receptor genes and marial infidelity were found in women and men had links between vasopressin receptor genes and marital discord.

Studies have not only been done on humans, but also animals to help prove this theory. For example, the difference between the sexual behavior in montane voles and prairie voles is due to where the vasopressin receptor genes are located in their brains. The receptors for prairie voles are located in proximity to the brain's reward center causing them to remain in monogamous relationship. Where as in montane voles the receptors are found in the region associated with anxiety and fear causing no attachment to be formed to their partners. Experiments showed that it was possible to make a montane  male vole act monogamously by increasing the number of vasopressin receptors in the brain's reward center. The same goes for female voles except by increasing oxytocin receptors instead of vasopressin.

Although, the studies prove that infidelity may be caused due to certain hormones it is still a choice. The article even states, "Correlation is not the same as causation; there are undoubtedly many unmeasured factors that contribute to infidelity." From this it can be concluded that some people are more wired to cheat, but this does not mean they can use it as an excuse.


  1. I find it very interesting that the male voles do not have attachment to their partners because the receptors are found in the part of the brain where it is connected to fear. It's really interesting to see that by increasing the receptors, it would help the monogamous relationship.

  2. Wow I really can't believe cheating could be involved with a recessive gene influence! I think almost all of us know someone who has cheated on someone else which I personally think is something no one deserves to be put through. To know that a recessive gene has a correlation with this action is just incredible! Maybe that explains why so many people are inclined to do so!