Home > psychology > Romantic Jealousy Effects on Cognitive Functioning

Romantic Jealousy Effects on Cognitive Functioning

jealousy8Most of us are familiar with Jealousy in romantic relationships, which is triggered primarily by infidelity, a significant threat to people’s long-term romantic relationships. Under this scope, jealousy is an effective mechanism to guard relationships.

Dr. Jon Maner of the University of Florida and his team studied the effect of romantic jealousyon implicit, low-level cognitive functioning. According to the results of the study, the fear of losing a partner affects the brain by hijacking attention and memory systems. This finding was more evident in the case of people displaying high chronic levels of romantic jealousy.

Dr Maner and his team suggested that concerns about infidelity may evoke a functionally coordinated cascade of cognitive biases, each aimed at guarding against threats posed by possible romantic competitors. Specifically, concerns about infidelity could strengthen encoding and memory for possible romantic rivals.

The researchers conducted four studies with hundreds of heterosexual student participants. The participants that showed high levels of chronic jealousy displayed enhanced encoding and memory for attractive same-sex targets. On the other hand, No effects were observed in people less inclined to worry about the threat of infidelity.

Furthermore, concerns about infidelity seem to promote intrasexual vigilance – cognitive biases and attunements directed at selectively processing attractive members of one’s own sex. More specifically, participants with high levels of jealousy process vigilantly only members of their own sex, who were rated highly attractive. Not only did they attend to attractive same-sex people but they also encoded, remembered and successfully identified them later on.

Suggested readings:

The Original Paper

How romantic jealousy hijacks the mind

Jealousy as a Function of Rival Characteristics: An Evolutionary Perspective

Automatic inattention to attractive alternatives: the evolved psychology of relationship maintenance

Can’t Take My Eyes off You: Attentional Adhesion to Mates and Rivals

(picture: “Jealousy by Steven Stahlberg)

  1. 02/08/2009 at 19:34

    Hmmm… why there were not homosexual participants? The effects of jealousy on the cognitive functioning of homosexual people is concidered to be different than on the one of heterosexual ones? And if yes, why?

  2. 02/08/2009 at 20:35

    Interesting comment! The didn’t choose homosexual participants because it seems that jealousy is different in homosexual relationships. Studies show that homosexual men express less sexual jealousy than heterosexual men. There are some relevant studies. I’d suggest reading these:




  3. nou
    14/09/2011 at 18:02

    thanks for this article…
    find another article at http://newsonlineupdate.com

  4. 15/03/2014 at 00:44

    Can I just say what a relief to discover somebody that really knows what
    they are discussing on the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular because you definitely
    possess the gift.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school

The Courgette Cooperation

A personal take on food and cooking and anything related


you're just an idea away...

Nou Stuff

another cognitive neuroscience/psychology blog...

%d bloggers like this: