London: Scientists have scraped the old notion that men are more likely to stray than women.
They now believe that it is a person’s power, rather than gender, that plays the greatest role in infidelity.
A team of researchers conducted an anonymous Internet survey of 1,561 adults and found that there is a higher risk of unfaithfulness in people of positions of power, no matter the sex.
“There has been a lot of research in the past that indicates that gender is the strongest predictor of infidelity, but none of these studies have been done on powerful women,” the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Joris Lammers as saying.
Lammers and his team also measured other variants such as confidence, distance and the perception of risk as it relates to infidelity.
“People often assume that powerful men may be more likely to cheat because they have risk-taking personalities or because of distance, such as frequent business trips that many powerful people go on,” he said.
“We found little correlation between either of the two,” he added.
“As more women are in greater positions of power and are considered equal to men, then familiar assumptions about their behaviour will change,” he added.
The study revealed two key discoveries to why powerful people cheat.
First, there is a strong association between power and confidence, and the amount of confidence a person has is the strongest link between power and unfaithfulness.
Second, the researchers found that among powerful people, gender made no difference in past digressions or the participants’ desires to cheat.
And, the study said, we as a society do not hear about more women cheating because there simply aren’t as many women in positions of power as their male counterparts.