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Jealousy Distracts

Jealousy DistractsA new study suggests jealousy really is “blinding” as University of Delaware researchers discovered women distracted by unpleasant emotional images were unable to recognize familiar images.

The researchers believe 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.

Source: University of Delaware

Jealousy Distracts

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Jealousy Distracts. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/14/jealousy-distracts/12825.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.