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Aug 6, 2015
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Good news, cheaters!

Science has found something for you to blame your unfaithfulness as a new study suggests that cheating and other unethical behavior could be caused by your hormone level.

GIF via Giphy.com

To test how hormones can affect a person's decision on cheating, the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard researchers had 117 participants complete a math test, grade the results themselves and report how many questions they got right. They were told that they will be rewarded with money but this depends on the problems they answered right.

After reporting, researchers collected salivary samples from participants. They determined that those with higher amounts of testosterone and cortisol lie the most about their performance.

"Elevated testosterone decreases the fear of punishment while increasing sensitivity to reward. Elevated cortisol is linked to an uncomfortable state of chronic stress that can be extremely debilitating," Josephs, one of the researchers, said. He adds that, "testosterone furnishes the courage to cheat, and elevated cortisol provides a reason to cheat."

What's even more interesting is those who cheated reported feeling a reduction in stress after taking the test "as if cheating provided some sort of stress relief."

"The stress reduction is accompanied by a powerful stimulation of the reward centers in the brain, so these physiological psychological changes have the unfortunate consequence of reinforcing the unethical behavior," Josephs said.

The lesson? Test your would-be partner's saliva for its cortisol and testosterone levels as one final test before committing to her.

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