The romantics in you may not like this series, where we allow scientists to ruthlessly dissect love with biology, chemistry, evolutionary theories and psychology. To science, love is desire, and our bubbling cauldron of feeling around issues of infidelity can be broken into figures, facts and factors, according to Doctor Kenneth Paul Rosenberg in his book Infidelity – why men and women cheat.

In this series, we will examine some sciences of love, just to have additional perspectives on top of our own perceptions and entangled emotions. Of course, in no way is science the only way or the better way to look at human relationships and conditions. After all, it is the humanly experience that makes us human.

Our Innocent Hearts

I feel sorry for using the term “Cheating Heart” as the attention-seeking subheading. The heart is always wrongfully blamed for all the mistakes we make. It seems like any decision that is not made by logic or cannot be made with logic, is made under an impulse from the heart. We don’t trust our heart. We think it is foolish.

But what is actually the Cheating Heart? You will be surprised to find that it is made of three determinants which have nothing to do with the heart: the brain, our psychology and culture. Science has revealed that adulterous behaviour are determined by these three factors and has nothing to do with the heart, finally proving the heart’s innocence.

The Cheating Heart and Its Components

One way of understanding the Cheating Heart is to look at it like a system of Artificial Intelligence, for example, a chatbot. Here is the breakdown of its components:

1. The Brain – The Hardware

Here we are referring to the neurological structures and chemistry of the brain instead of the logical and thinking brain we are used to. If humans are more than often logical and rule-abiding, we probably will not be discussing the issue of infidelity in the first place. The neurology, chemistry, the grey and white matters of the brain, on the other hand, are key. They are the hardware, the system that comes with its inherent, systemic designs and faults. Considering neurology and chemistry in cheating, is therefore understanding our hardware, how it works and its limitations.

2. Human Psychology – The Software

If the brain neurological structures and chemistry are the hardware, then human psychology is the software. The way our psychology is written programs our actions and responses and in the context of infidelity, reveals underlying psychological and behavioural patterns.

3. Our Culture – The Training

If the Cheating Heart is an Artificial Intelligence system built on the Brain hardware and the psychology software, then culture is the external triggers and trainings that help to shape and materialize behaviours from Cheating Heart’s built and programme. That explains why infidelity is manifested more in some cultures than others.

In this series of The Science of Love, we will share weekly interesting topics about infidelity looked through the lens of science. Watch out for more!


Like this article? You might also be interested in the other articles in this category of Love Psychology:

Relationship Ambivalence & WHAT to do with your unsatisfactory relationship

Perfect Timing – WHEN to fall in and out of love

Not an Exchange but a Bond – Why attachment is key to love