For years I have been questioning the polls, surveys, studies and considered opinions of the experts who say that men cheat much more than women do. (Just for starters, if women are so pure, whom are all these men cheating with?) Ha! A new study conducted by researchers at Tilburg University in Holland and reported in the U.K. Telegraph, found that women in positions of power were just as likely to have affairs as their males counterparts.
Dr Joris Lammers, the lead psychologist, said, "There's been a lot of research indicating gender is the key factor but none of these studies have been done on powerful women...As more and more women are in greater positions of power and are considered equal to men, then familiar assumptions about their behaviour may also change. This may lead to increased negative behaviours among women that in the past have been more common among men."
The research team studied 1,561 professionals--
- 58 per cent had non-management positions,
- 22 per cent were supervisors,
- 14 per cent were in middle management and six per cent were in senior management.
The participants were questioned about past affairs and their desire to have an affair--and how often they traveled for business and other questions related to access and opportunity. Psychologists evaluated their levels of self–confidence--which, no surprise, strongly correlated with their power at work. The unfaithful held the most power and had higher levels of self–esteem--whether they were men or women.
For centuries women's survival was dependent on men. Now many women can get along just fine on their own. With economic parity comes female power.
I've been mulling this over as I read the women's responses to the Desperate Women, Beastly Men survey. Some of the desperate women are well-paid professionals, but clearly lacking in self esteem. Some of the women who say they never were desperate or were at one point, but defeated the behavior, have modest incomes--but their sense of self is proud and positive. Next Tuesday I'll publish the survey results and a selection of comments that should provoke a dialogue.
In other science news from the dark side--if, of course, you think that having an affair is "dark"--studies are reporting that oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone" a.k.a. "the love hormone", has a mean streak. This brain chemical produced during lovemaking, especially orgasm, helps lovers bond to one another. It has enjoyed such a rosy reputation that some psychologists have considered administering it to various patients who have difficulty in social situations. Not so fast--
According to evidence presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (as reported in a Science News article) oxytocin might make an anti-social person even more so.
"Apparently oxytocin amplifies whatever social proclivities a person already possesses, whether positive or negative," says psychologist Jennifer Bartz of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
I encourage you to read the Science News report, especially if you or your beloved suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.
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