Blinded by jealousy?

April 13, 2010

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 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 .

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 .

Explore further: A Valentine's Day story: Women more perceptive than men in describing relationships

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not rated yet Apr 13, 2010
I think we're going to find emotions filter and determine far more of what we 'see' than we currently believe of ourselves. Depression, jealousy, lust, hunger, anxiety, the list goes on; all 'add' to our perception of reality.

I would be surprised if we spent more then 10 minutes a day engaged in calm introspective and quantitative choice.
not rated yet Apr 14, 2010
Dr, our testsubject is puffing steam out of her ears, is that part of the experiment?
not rated yet Apr 14, 2010
My gut feeling tells me females on average have lower treshhold triggers for jealousy, and for good reason!! Because men fell easily prey to seduction by other females.
not rated yet Apr 14, 2010
I saw woman bleeding from nose as result of jealous reaction. It probably increases a blood pressure.
not rated yet Apr 14, 2010
I bet that was a fun ride home for the couple. "An 8! You thought she was an 8?! How about 8 weeks of not touching me!?".

That poor guy probably never saw it coming either, he was just there for landscapes.

It's easy to see how jealousy effects women already. Any man who has ever dated knows how utterly fixated on the subject a woman can get. If she says "no, it's fine, it doesn't even bother me", you better believe it does.
not rated yet Apr 18, 2010
This must have been a quite difficult experiment to design, we all know how hard it is to induce jealousy in women.

Glad these researchers could pull it off though, yay for science.

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