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Scientists Have Figured Out Why Cheaters Keep Cheating

Remember when Rachel Green uttered the now-iconic, "Once a cheater, always a cheater", on Friends and women (and men) around the world landed themselves a new catchphrase?

Well it turns out Ms Green was actually onto something; a new study linking dishonesty to brain activity has discovered that the more a person lies, the less guilty they feel about it.


The paper, titled "The brain adapts to dishonesty", revealed that the negative response produced by the amygdala in our brains when we lie actually weakens the more we do it.

When Elite Daily approached one of the study's co-authors, a Princeton Neuroscience Institute researcher by the name of Neil Garrett, they asked whether the findings could be applied to the behaviour of serial cheaters - and he tended to agree.

"The idea would be the first time we commit adultery we feel bad about it," he said. "But the next time we feel less bad and so on, with the result that we can commit adultery to a greater extent.

"With serial cheaters, it could be the case that they initially felt bad about cheating, but have cheated so much they've adapted to their ways and simply don't feel bad about cheating anymore."

While Garrett did add that the study would need to be adapted to relationships in particular, he also pointed out that similar studies suggest that our "emotional response" to cheating is what prevents - or encourages - us to continue.

"What our study and others suggest is a powerful factor that prevents us from cheating is our emotional reaction to it, how bad we feel essentially, and the process of adaptation reduces this reaction, thereby allowing us to cheat more," he concluded.

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