Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Men, women and the green eye’d monster

08.10.2002


New research reveals that men and women respond similarly on jealousy measures related to infidelity

When it comes to jealousy, men and women may be from the same planet after all.


New research from psychology professor David DeSteno from Northeastern University debunks the myth of a gender-determined reaction to sexual and emotional infidelity. Contrary to previous studies, he found that both men and women react most dramatically to a partner’s sexual rather than emotional philandering. And while a partner’s unfaithful emotional bonds with someone outside the relationship are unduly stressful, both men and women exhibit the strongest adverse reactions to sexual rather than emotional connections.



Jealous reactions were once thought to be determined by evolutionary instincts. Men were said to react more strongly to being cuckolded while women found partners who strayed emotionally to be more of a threat to resources benefiting themselves and their children. Before DeSteno’s research, most jealousy studies on this issue involved “forced choice,” scenarios that prompted participants to choose one more distressing event over another. DeSteno and his colleagues believed that this method of assessment created biased results. Differences in gender only emerge, they found, when participants are forced to consider the infidelity events in opposition to one another. In short, it’s how participants are asked the questions, not an innate psychological mechanism shaped by evolution.

Participants were asked to rate, using a variety of scales, how they’d feel finding out that their partner had been either emotionally bonded with someone else or had been sexually unfaithful. Forced choice caused a distinct gender split, DeSteno found, but on every other measure, men and women’s reactions were congruent and the divergence melted away: both genders were more disturbed by sexual, rather than emotional, infidelity.

In a second study meant to uncover the reason for this paradoxical result, DeSteno had participants complete the forced-choice measure under conditions known to favor the functioning of automatic, or ingrained, mental processes. Here, the gender difference usually found on the forced-choice disappeared; men and women both reported more distress to sexual infidelity as was the case on all the other measures.

“The theory that male and female jealousy is differentially aroused by specific kinds of infidelity threats has long been advocated by sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists,” DeSteno said. “In direct contradiction to the evolutionary view, both men and women appear to experience more distress in response to sexual encounters outside the relationship than to emotional infidelities. And while we’re not out to debunk every tenet held fast by evolutionary psychologists, this calls into question a large body of research that’s been done looking at jealousy.”

“Our findings challenge the empirical basis for the evolutionary theory of jealousy by demonstrating that evidence of a sex difference in distress to sexual and emotional infidelity represents, in all likelihood, a methodological artifact,” he said. “It’s not simply a matter of the brain being shaped by evolutionary pressures.”

Christine Phelan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nupr.neu.edu/10-02/jealousy.PDF

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>