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Evolutionary Psychology. Workshop 8: Jealousy.. Learning Outcomes. zAt the end of this session you should be able to: z1. Briefly review the evidence.

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Presentation on theme: "Evolutionary Psychology. Workshop 8: Jealousy.. Learning Outcomes. zAt the end of this session you should be able to: z1. Briefly review the evidence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evolutionary Psychology. Workshop 8: Jealousy.

2 Learning Outcomes. zAt the end of this session you should be able to: z1. Briefly review the evidence and methodology concerning sex differences in jealousy. z2. Carry out a small study concerning possible sex differences in sexual versus emotional jealousy and mate retention tactics. z3. Collate the date from the group and discuss the findings.

3 Background. zBoth sexes are upset by a current partner's actual (or perceived) infidelity. zEvolutionary psychologists have argued that male jealousy is more likely to be triggered by threats of sexual infidelity, while female jealousy is more likely to be triggered by threats of emotional infidelity (Buss, 2000). zAccording to Pietrzak et al., (2002) the evidence for such assumptions has come from 3 sources: z1. Forced-choice studies: Participants have to select between jealousy-inducing scenarios. z2. Continuous rating scales: Participants rate the extent of their upset to scenarios.  3. Physiological response studies: Physiological variables are monitored while participants imagine jealousy-invoking situations.

4 Methodological Problems. z1. Forced-choice studies reveal very different proportions of males and females feeling greater upset to one scenario or another. z2. Continuous rating scale studies actually find little differences between mean ratings of males and females. z3. Physiological studies provide variable data and are often unreplicated. z4. Measures of jealousy are not sufficiently specific to allow for subtle gender differences to be apparent. z5. With self-report items there is the possibility that people respond in a manner that they think is socially desirable. z6. Most studies have used college-age students rather than people in long-term romantic relationships. zHarris (2000), Wiederman & Allgeier(1993)

5 Pietrzak et al., (2002) Study. zParticipants selected an infidelity scenario which would distress them more, provided continuous ratings on the extent of their emotional distress, while physiological variables were being monitored. z73% of males reported greater distress to the sexual infidelity scenario. z96% of females opted for the emotional distress scenario. zMales reported stronger feelings of anger, rage and betrayal while imagining sexual infidelity. zFemales reported stronger feelings of anger, anxiety and fear while imagining emotional infidelity. zMales showed greater physiological responses to the sexual infidelity scenario while females showed greater physiological responses to emotional infidelity

6 Tasks. z1. To assess sex differences in subjective distress to emotional or sexual infidelity. z2. To assess sex differences in responses to emotional or sexual infidelity. z3. To assess sex differences in mate retention behaviours. z4. To assess sex differences in upset about characteristics of a love-rival. zWhile you are waiting to input your data try the jealousy questionnaire at: zhttp://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/access_jealousy.html zAlso try typing in ‘sex differences in jealousy’ on the google search engine (http://www.google.com) and see what you get.

7 Subjective Distress Over Infidelity. zWe would predict that males more than females would choose indicators of sexual infidelity as most upsetting. The opposite should be true for females. We found the following (46 m, 50 f):

8 Responses to Infidelity. zWe would predict that males more than females would be less likely to forgive a sexual indiscretion and be more likely to end the relationship following a sexual indiscretion. The opposite should be true for females. We found the following (46 m 50 f):

9 Mate Retention Behaviours. zTo retain a mate we may expect males to use resource-based strategies, and may respond with greater physical aggression. zFemales may use enhancement of physical appearance and sexual provision, and may resort more to verbal aggression. We found (23 m, 25 f):

10 Mate Retention Behaviours continued

11 Characteristics of a Rival. zMales may be more distressed by status/prestige characteristics in a potential rival. zFemales may be more distressed by physical characteristics in a potential rival. We found (23 m, 25 f):

12 Characteristics of a Rival continued.

13 References. zBuss, D.M. (2000). The Dangerous Passion. New York. The Free Press. zHarris, C.R. (2000). Psychophysiological responses to imagined infidelity: the specific innate modular view of jealousy reconsidered. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78: zPietrzak, R.H., Laird, J.D., Stevens, D.A., & Thompson, N.S. (2002). Sex differences in human jealousy. A coordinated study of forced- choice, continuous rating-scale, and physiological responses on the same subjects. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 23: zWiederman, M.W., & Allgeier, E.R. (1993). Gender differences in sexual jealousy: adaptionist or social learning explanation? Ethology and Sociobiology, 14:


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