Okay, look, I’m sorry for all the Friends references lately, but at the same time, not really. If you don’t like Friends, then I don’t like you. Anyway, we all remember the famous post-letter “Once a cheater, always a cheater” moment between Ross and Rachel. Well it turns out Rachel’s mom may have been right: a new study found cheaters will cheat again, depsite everything your lying, cheating fuckboy tells you otherwise. The short version is that every time a
man person lies, they feel less guilty about doing it the second time. Which explains how Sean Spicer is still doing his job and has managed not to spontaneously combust at this point.
This study, published in Nature—which I absolutely did not read in its entirety because it was 18 pages in a PDF (not front and back, though—TG for small miracles), got together a bunch of people. They were split into two groups and shown a picture of a jar with coins in it. One set of images was clear and the other was blurry Riveting, I know. Bear with me. So the group who got the clear image was asked to help their blurry counterparts guess how many coins were in the jar. All was chill, nothing to see there. Then, in an Are You The One: Second Chances-esque twist, the clear group was told they would get money if their partners overestimated the amount of coins in the jar. Shockingly, when money was involved, the people with the clear images lied to their partners. And they lied more with repetition. So basically, every time your FWB lies that he wasn’t at the bar you very clearly saw him at, and you continue to fuck him anyway, it just makes him do it more.
At the same time (or maybe like, slightly after? Unclear), participants got also hooked up to a functional MRI. They looked at amygdala activity—which, if you paid attention at all in your AP Psych class, you’ll know is the region of the brain that’s involved with feeling emotions. You know, those things you don’t feel? So if you’re a decent person, when you lie a bunch of signals get sent to your amygdala and just light that shit up. But the study showed that each time you lie, your amygdala gets less and less sensitive to lies. In other words, you feel less bad. They also found that “the extent of reduced amygdala sensitivity to dishonesty on a present decision relative to the previous one predicts the magnitude of escalation of self-serving dishonesty on the next decision,” a sentence I have read 15 times now and still am just confused as the first time. If anybody can translate that sentence into English, please LMK. But what I THINK it means is that you can predict how much someone’s going to lie and fuck you over by looking at the last time they did that and then just increasing that. In purely scientific terms, it means TRUST NO FUCKBOY.
The scientists said all this points to a “slippery slope” effect that could help explain repeated infidelity. Basically, once you cheat and get away with it the first time, you’ll feel less and less bad each time. Which is literally what everyone on the r/relationships subreddit says, and they didn’t even need a fancy grant for that. So as far as you’re concerned, the second some asshole cheats on you, DUMP THEM. They will do it again, they won’t feel bad about it, and you can’t even blame it on their being a sociopath because they’re probably just a regular run-of-the-mill lyin’ ass hoe. And yes, that was the term the scientists used.
Unfortunately, while the scientists did determine the above hypothesis to be true, they have yet to reach a consensus as to whether or not Ross and Rachel were, in fact, on a break.