Study: Strangers' 'Radar' Can Spot One's Infidelity

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 10/09/2014 | 12:45 PM EDT

Researchers discover one's uncanny ability to recognize signs of cheating

If you ever want to know if your significant other is cheating on you or not, it may just be in your interest to ask a complete stranger. That’s because a new study suggests that strangers can actually spot a cheater by simply observing how couples interact.


"People can determine whether complete strangers were cheaters or non-cheaters by simply watching them interact for a short period of time," said Dr. Nathaniel Lambert, the study’s lead author, told to the HuffPost.


STUDY: THOSE WHO CHEAT ARE 3.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DO IT AGAIN


To determine the findings, researchers gathered 51 undergraduate students and their romantic partners. Each student completed a questionnaire about his or her emotional and physical infidelity in the relationship.


From there the couples were videotaped for a few minutes as they did a drawing exercise in which one partner was blindfolded and the other guided his or her partner on what to draw. The videos were then shown to six strangers, who were asked to assess how likely each person was to cheat on his or her partner.


Researchers said the responses strongly correlated with the participants’ self-reported infidelity. The experiment was tested for a second time that included 43 couples and five strangers, with the same results.


Lambert said the strangers weren't right every time, however, their ability to spot cheaters was “significantly above chance.”


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Even with the eye-opening results, he added that more research is needed to determine what exactly caused the strangers to suspect infidelity.


However, the study’s co-author Dr. Frank Fincham that it’s "possibly because it confers an evolutionary advantage.”


The study was published online in the journal “Personal Relationships” on Sept. 18.

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