Blinded by jealousy?

April 13, 2010

NEWARK, DEL. - Jealousy really is "blinding," according to a new study by two University of Delaware psychology professors. They found that women who were made to feel jealous were so distracted by unpleasant emotional images they became unable to spot targets they were trying to find.

The researchers suggest that their results reveal something profound about social relationships and perception: It has long been known that the emotions involved in social relationships affect mental and physical health, but now it appears that social emotions can literally affect what we see.

The research appears in the April issue of the journal "Emotion," published by the American Psychological Association. UD psychology professors Steven Most and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau and their colleagues tested heterosexual romantic couples in a lab experiment. The romantic partners sat near each other at separate computers. The woman was asked to detect targets (pictures of landscapes) amid rapid streams of images, while trying to ignore occasional emotionally unpleasant (gruesome or graphic) images.

The man was asked to rate the attractiveness of landscapes that appeared on his screen. Partway through the experiment, the experimenter announced the male partner would now rate the attractiveness of other single women.

At the end, the females were asked how uneasy they felt about their partner rating other women's attractiveness.

The finding? The more jealous the women felt, the more they were so distracted by unpleasant images that they could not see the targets. This relationship between jealousy and "emotion-induced blindness" emerged only during the time that the male partner was rating other women, helping rule out baseline differences in performance among the women.

The researchers don't yet know what will happen when the roles are reversed; in these experiments, it was always the women who searched for a target. Future research might reveal whether men tend to be less or more blinded by jealousy.
-end-


University of Delaware

Related Social Relationships Articles from Brightsurf:

'Social cells' related to social behavior identified in the brain
A research team led by Professor TAKUMI Toru of Kobe University's Graduate School of Medicine (also a Senior Visiting Scientist at RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research) have identified 'social cells' in the brain that are related to social behavior.

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

Electronic surveillance in couple relationships
Impaired intimacy, satisfaction, and infidelity in a romantic relationship can fuel Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance (IES).

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Experts call for more awareness of the potential impact of physical distancing on adolescent peer relationships and social development
Authors of an opinion piece, based on a review of evidence and published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal, are urging policymakers to consider the effects of physical distancing measures introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 on young people's social development and wellbeing.

Human presence weakens social relationships of giraffes
Living close to human settlements disturbs the social networks of giraffes.

Social media influencers could encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines
Public health bodies should consider incentivizing social media influencers to encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines, say researchers.

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.

Social isolation during adolescence drives long-term disruptions in social behavior
Mount Sinai Researchers find social isolation during key developmental windows drives long term changes to activity patterns of neurons involved in initiating social approach in an animal model.

Read More: Social Relationships News and Social Relationships Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.