With some assholes, it often seems like being an asshole is a chronic condition. Like, how do jerks manage to keep being jerks for so long? And some of the biggest assholes in the world, of course, are cheaters.
But one thing I’ve noticed in my life, is that while some cheaters make a mistake once and never screw up again, most can’t help themselves from doing it over, and over, and over again. That’s why some people have a strict policy to never take back a cheater, because their gut tells them that the person will probably cheat again.
As Elite Daily originally reported, there might actually be some science behind that gut feeling.
A study out of Nature suggests that our brains adapt to dishonesty. That is to say, the more we lie, the less guilty we feel about doing it. The area of our brain that provides a negative mental response when we lie slowly becomes quieter and quieter. This finding could directly apply to cheating (because what is cheating besides a gigantic lie??).
Neil Garrett, a co-author on the paper told Elite Daily that a “similar mechanism” could indeed apply for cheating as it does for lying:
The idea would be the first time we commit adultery we feel bad about it. 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 any more.
Garrett, however, also brings up another possibility: maybe serial cheaters never felt bad about cheating to begin with:
Another possibility is that they never felt bad about cheating to begin with, so they didn’t need adaptation to occur, they were comfortable with it from the get-go.
But either way, this might be science’s way of telling you to never stay with a cheater.