Dr. Phil: Brain Wiring "Huge Factor" in Cheaters

Dr. Phil McGraw on The Early Show. CBS

He's a famous daytime talk show host, but is mind-reading among his many skills?

Famed talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, better known simply as Dr. Phil, appeared on "The Early Show" Monday to discuss how a brain scan may be able to reveal whether a man will cheat on his wife.

Dr. Phil explained there are a lot of traits that go into cheating, but there are some factors that one can see in a brain scan that could put someone at high risk for cheating.

"Obviously a lot of this is learned, a lot of it's social. Probably 70 percent, something like that," he said. "But there are things in our makeup that make us at high-risk for this. There are certain brain patterns that make us high-risk for this. They've now identified a gene that they believe may have a contribution to this, as well. So yes, how your brain is configured, how it's wired, can be a huge contributing factor."

Dr. Phil showed a brain scan of a cheater versus a non-cheater. He noted that the cheater brain shows a lot of activity.

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith joked, "It's busy."

Dr. Phil agreed, saying, "It is very busy. ... And if you see (the activity) in ... the brain, then it can make you compulsive. You get caught in a loop where you have to keep repeating compulsive behavior."

Dr. Phil said in a non-cheating brain, most of the activity occurs in the back of the brain, around the cerebellum.

"You find these people that have a history of cheating, you compare their brains to normal and you see it's dramatically different," he said.

He added where reasoning occurs is also a factor for cheating behavior.

He explained, "The front of our brain is higher reasoning, and it's where we have the inhibition sensors, where we put the brakes on impulsive behavior. And if it's very low activity, then you get very high impulse. So what we're talking about here is: Who is at risk? And these folks are risk-takers. And you often see traumatic brain injury. That contributes to the likelihood to be cheater."

For more with Dr. Phil and his advice on how to spot a potential cheater, click on the video below.


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