Let’s try to understand how the modern world “encourages” people to cheat and what psychological phenomena contribute to this.
Cheating is a phenomenon in society that is increasingly being talked about. It becomes the subject of a melodrama, a book, and sometimes comes into our own lives. Different cultures have different attitudes to infidelity, but there is something common everywhere: one of the reasons for infidelity has become our way of life, which is dictated in part by the pace of the modern world and the “paralysis of choice”. Let’s look at how exactly.
TOO WIDE AN ASSORTMENT
It’s hard to disagree that we live in a world of frantic pace and unlimited choice. And that choice applies to everything: from groceries on the counter to recreational options, from clothing items to romantic partners.
The latter has been greatly helped by the development of the Internet: now it is possible to find a life partner (or a night out) by scrolling through applications and selecting those who please the soul.
Don’t like the young programmer – flick the screen to the left. If you like an elegant businessman with a snow-white smile on his avatar, all you need is a click to ask him to meet you and make yourself known. Such online communication does not last long; the people of the XXI century, used to getting everything at once, make a date almost at the same second, dreaming to transfer communication into the usual “live” format faster.
Sometimes it even happens: we like so many people online that we plan several meetings in advance to decide on a “finalist” later
It seems that with an expanded choice we have a better chance of finding this or that person, but research in social psychology disagrees. An experiment conducted in 2000 by Stanford psychologists Mark Lepper and Sheena Iyengar showed that by choosing from 24 jam options, people were less satisfied with their decision than those who had to choose from just six jars.
Subsequent research has confirmed: The greater the variety, the lower the customer satisfaction.
Why is this the case? It’s caused by ‘choice paralysis’, a phenomenon in which too many options seem to paralyse us. We start comparing options, constantly questioning whether we’ve chosen the best one.
Although studies of ‘choice paralysis’ have taken jars of jam as their starting point, the same mechanism is at work in choosing a partner. With limitless possibilities, we get lost in our own needs.
Another feature of modern society – consumerism – cannot be overlooked. A new phone model immediately eclipses the old one, even though the old one is only a year old. New films and serials are released by the hundreds, giving the viewer not a second’s respite.
Every object or service provided to man has an automatic longevity mechanism that forces us to keep up with the times, renewing everything around us and buying something newer every day in the hope that it will definitely be better.
The same has happened with romantic relationships. In today’s world, we don’t cheat because we feel unhappy in our marriages or relationships – we cheat because we could be happier. Each new person may seem like a breath of fresh air, but over time they too tend to become commonplace – and we continue to search for that very “ideal” and greater happiness.
But how can we avoid this constant “improving” that can destroy our relationships? Perhaps the best way would be to learn to appreciate what we already have, to exist “here and now”, to develop awareness and to notice all the good things loved ones do for us. And, of course, to avoid situations where choices can paralyse us – whether it’s a possible partner in an online application or just a fourteenth jar of jam.