An economic downturn isn’t good for homebuyers, retailers and now, according to a study out of the University of Kansas, women in committed relationships. Omri Gillath, a social psychology professor, concluded that as a man’s wallet gets smaller and he begins to feel stressed about survival, his urge to stray and ultimately reproduce could possibly get bigger.
“In low survivability conditions, we think that men would be more apt to pursue sex outside of a monogamous relationship, looking for ways to spread their genes,” Gillath states in an article published by Science Daily. “The economy today is giving us signs that we have lower chances of survival.”
“There’s not as much money, we’re not sure if we’re going to have our jobs. It’s like living on the savanna and discovering you don’t have enough fruit and the animals are scarce,” he continued.
Even more than the loss of money, employment and self-esteem, death seems to be the biggest motivating factor for once monogamous men to carry on affair outside of their relationship.
Gillath studied the responses of men who were asked to think about their own demise while looking at two types of images on a computer—sexual and nonsexual—in order to gauge their interest in sex while facing the Grimm Reaper. Those who had death on the brain reportedly “triggered a lever faster when they saw sexual images” while men who were asked to conjure up thoughts of dental pain were slower to react. It’s worth nothing that there was not a distinguishable difference in response times for nonsexual images. The physical response was measured by an increased heart rate.
“We’re biologically wired to reproduce, and the environment tells us the best strategy to use to make sure our genes are passed on,” concluded Gillath. “If you think you might die soon, there’s a huge advantage for a man to use short-term mating strategies — to make sure there are a bunch of offspring and hope that some of them survive — but women can’t do the same thing.”
While this is certainly an interesting look at how a poor economy can take a toll on our personal lives, it’s important to remember that this is just one study.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.