Science Of Snooping: Why We Need To Know What We Don't Want To Know

by Ashley Fern

To snoop or not to snoop, that is the question. There's no doubt that the technological advances occurring all over the world are making snooping easier than ever before.

There's no need for fancy spy software, all you need to do is scroll through a person's Instagram followers and bam! All your crazy conclusions can be readily jumped to.

It really doesn't even matter if a person has done something wrong, snooping becomes possible the minute you're given the opportunity to do it. Certain platforms make this tricky habit easier than others. A common Snapchat reaction:

"But she's his best friend on Snapchat..."

Sure, it may not tell a person absolutely anything, but it creates the desire to snoop more. Everyone has battled with an irrational fear of something or other, especially when it comes to a significant other or a prospective romantic partner.

Snooping robs you of organic experiences; in fact, it only increases your anxiety and paranoia. And let's be honest, we have a ton of more important things to worry about, like our jobs, families and finances.

Could you imagine if we spent as much time on ourselves as we do on snooping on others? I know -- mind blown.

Snooping doesn't necessarily need to happen after you've created a relationship with someone. How many people do you know research the sh*t out of a set-up date? All you need is this person's name and voilà, you have access to his or her Facebook, LinkedIn and anything else Google finds for you.

So let's take a closer look at snooping, the type of people prone to it and its effects.

Who's more likely to snoop?

According to a study published in Men's Fitness, women are perpetrators more often than their male counterparts. This included checking their boyfriend's computer history as well as going through his inbox if it was "accidentally" left open. This is contingent, however, on the fact that all participants were telling the truth.

A similar study done in the UK revealed men are twice as likely to go through a partner's phone, but women are more prone to admit they've done it.

Does being insecure go against the ideal of masculinity that society has deeply instilled in men? Could this be the reason fewer men are willing to admit they indulge in these taboo behaviors?

Would you take advantage of a snooping opportunity if it were in front of you? Before you do, do you think of the long term effects of things you may find? Regardless, it's clear of how prominent snooping is in relationships.

Why do people snoop on one another?

Some people claim they just know when something is off and will dig as deep as possible to affirm their suspicions. Anyone who's tried this knows it's probably the worst way to go about it because rarely do you find anything you wish you knew.

If your initial thought were insecurity, I'd have to agree. If you were satisfied with your relationship and yourself, why would you be wasting your time snooping? Wouldn't you be too busy at the gym or hanging out with your friends to be bothered with something as petty as this?

If you are insecure about yourself and have a tendency to snoop, maybe you should start with your own problems before trying to dig up someone else's.

How do people snoop on their loved ones?

According to the Men's Fitness study, texting is the number one method lovers use to stay in touch. So if a person is cheating, this is also the way he or she'd likely communicate with a side piece. If a person wants to find his or her partner's most intimate conversations, this is where the snooping session would begin.

Who else do we snoop on?

Checking out our partners may be the most frequently type of snooping out there, but it definitely isn't where it all begins and ends. Seven out of 10 women admit they've creeped on their man's ex-girlfriend on Facebook.

Honestly, we've all done it at one time or another because the technology IS THERE. It makes it all too easy to put a face to a person who once made your partner happy.

And with that comes the anxiety and insecurity that snooping breeds.

So you found what you were looking for, now what?

You know the point when you typically stop snooping? It's usually when you find the worst thing possible. Your intense emotions even surprise you because you can't believe it was you who put you in this vulnerable position.

According to the UK study published in Daily Mail, 59 percent of women would tell their partners about the recently discovered transgression while only 37 percent of men would do the same.

And so begins the Catch-22 of snooping. Can you really get mad about something you were never supposed to find out about in the first place? Is that even a solid defense or does that just make you look even guiltier?

Why snoop if you know you're just going to be left devastated? Sure, you could say a good person wouldn't have anything to hide, but have you ever had a texting conversation that didn't get misunderstood one way or another? Now throw in a third party to the mix and think about that.

"Once you pop, the fun don't stop" - Pringles

You thought this was an innocent slogan used for an addicting snack, but when you apply it to your romantic life, well, it takes on entirely new meaning.

Think about it: Are you able to control how much you stalk someone once you've started? The moment you break through that barrier and realize how easy and accessible it is, why would you even stop?

Wasn't that your intention all along? To figure out the most low-key way to gather the most information you can get your hands on without the other person knowing?