Weiner, Schwarzenegger, Edwards, Spitzer… have you ever wondered why the recent, growing list of famous cheaters consists solely of powerful, male figure heads? This notion of infidelity in politics is nothing new I mean, John F. Kennedy started that trend decades ago. But, apparently, men have just been a lot sloppier in recent years, getting caught in the act more and more often.
If you look at the slew of names I just mentioned, then you would be right in assuming that men are more likely than women to cheat. Well, according to a recent study on infidelity published in the journal Psychological Science, you’d be wrong. As it turns out, cheating has very little to do with gender, and everything to do with power.
Joris Lammers and his team of researchers conducted an anonymous Internet survey of 1,561 adults that asked questions about the intersections of power at work, confidence levels, and perception of risks associated with infidelity. Lammers found that “women in powerful positions are just as likely as men to cheat on their spouses, and the gender of powerful people made no difference.” The study offered some interesting explanations: to no surprise, there is a strong link between power and confidence, and the higher the confidence, the lower the person’s perceived risk of cheating becomes.
These finding have a number implications on the future. As more and more women continue to reach the same, if not higher, power positions as their male counterparts, there will be a major increase in devious behavior, like cheating, that has traditionally been associated with men. Is it only a matter of time before we start seeing some female names join the ranks of the politicians mentioned above? It’s scary thought, but a very realistic one.