A new study suggests that the reasons they stray may have more to do with the power they wield than with their, um, masculinity.
“The likelihood [of infidelity] increases the more powerful someone is,” says study author Joris Lammers, an assistant professor of psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. The research was published in Psychological Science.
The study analyzed the results of an Internet survey of 1,561 readers of a Dutch business magazine. Fifty-eight percent of respondents held low-level non-management positions; 22% had some management responsibilities; 14% were middle managers; and 6% were top level executives.
The higher someone was in the hierarchy, the greater the chance there was that they reported having cheated on their partner or intending to do so in the future — regardless of whether they were male or female.
Moreover, the tendency to cheat was not linked to factors like taking frequent business trips or being a person who inherently tends to take risks. Rather, it was linked to confidence — and the more power men and women had, the more confident they were.
“[Comedian] Chris Rock says that a man is basically as faithful as his options allow. [The researchers] might say that this applies to women as well,” says Ryan.
Still, he cautions that there remain definite gender differences in the way men and women approach infidelity.
If you’re looking for monogamy, however, top dogs do seem to be harder to keep on the porch.