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Sex Differences in Jealousy: Evolution, Physiology, and Psychology

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Abstract

In species with internal female fertilization, males risk both lowered paternity probability and investment in rival gametes if their mates have sexual contact with other males. Females of such species do not risk lowered maternity probability through partner infidelity, but they do risk the diversion of their mates' commitment and resources to rival females. Three studies tested the hypothesis that sex differences in jealousy emerged in humans as solutions to the respective adaptive problems faced by each sex. In Study 1, men and women selected which event would upset them more—a partner's sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity. Study 2 recorded physiological responses (heart rate, electrodermal response, corrugator supercilii contraction) while subjects imagined separately the two types of partner infidelity. Study 3 tested the effect of being in a committed sexual relationship on the activation of jealousy. All studies showed large sex differences, confirming hypothesized sex linkages in jealousy activation.
... In this sense, while women feel more attractive, they also are more satisfied with their romantic relationship. From a functional perspective, women in relationships are interested to ensure exclusive parental investment (Al-Shawaf et al., 2015;Buss & Shackelford, 1997;Buss et al., 1992), an objective that can be more easily obtained with a less attractive romantic couple, which usually are more prone to invest in offspring (Gangestad, 1993). In this sense, Danel and colleagues (2017) found that female perception of the intensity of controlling behaviors performed by both partners were more intense in couples where women possess the higher values of mate value over men. ...
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In our species, the formation and maintenance of romantic partners is a nonrandom process. In this sense, similarity between members of the couple can be relevant for the beginning of the relationship (i.e., assortative mating) and maintenance, being similarity in attractiveness one of the most interesting aspects of this phenomenon. Despite that similarity in attractive traits has been documented, there is a lack of studies including modern morphological measures like fluctuating facial asymmetry or body fat percentage when assessing the effect that similarity in attractiveness could provoke on behaviors and feelings necessary to maintain a long-term relationship (e.g., satisfaction and trust). We assessed the presence of similarity in attractiveness for self-perceived measures (attractiveness and mate value) and physical traits (body fat percentage, body mass index, and fluctuating facial asymmetry) in a population of 196 heterosexual young couples from Chile (n = 392). Then, using actor-partner interdependence models (APIM), we assessed whether satisfaction and trust within the couples were influenced by attractiveness. Our results indicated the presence of similarity for all studied traits with the exception of fluctuating facial asymmetry. In addition, we only found that self-assessment of attractiveness is important for satisfaction in women, and partner's physical attractiveness is important for satisfaction and trust in men. Our results suggest that similarity in attractiveness is not playing a major role in affecting relationship. It is probably that similarity could be better explained from the initial stages of relationship, where the mating market forces conduce to the conformation of similar couples. La formación y el mantenimiento de parejas sentimentales es un proceso no aleatorio. En este sentido, la similitud entre los miembros de la pareja puede ser relevante para el inicio de la relación (es decir, el apareamiento selectivo) y su proyección, siendo la similitud en el atractivo uno de los aspectos más interesante de este fenómeno. Si bien se ha documentado similitud en las parejas, no existen estudios que incluyan variables morfológicas modernas, como la asimetría facial fluctuante o el porcentaje de grasa corporal al evaluar el efecto que la similitud en atractivo podría provocar sobre los comportamientos y sentimientos necesarios para mantener una relación a largo plazo (p. ej., confianza y satisfacción). En este estudio, evaluamos la presencia de similitud en atractivo desde rasgos Paula Pavez https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7829-8490 Pablo Polo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6366-933X
... After the proposal of these two aspects of sexual and emotional jealousy and in delity (Thompson, 1984), the researchers investigated these sex di erences in di erent countries, overshadowing any potential cross-cultural similarities and di erences in the nature of in delity (i.e., cultural di erence in which behaviors are regarded as in delity and their variations in intensity). In the rst cross-cultural attempts to test the evolutionary proposed sex di erences in in delity by Buss et al. (1992), Buunk and colleagues (1996) recruited participants from the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands, asking men and women whether imagining a partner's sexual in delity or emotional in delity is more distressing. While German and Dutch cultures are regarded as having more permissive attitudes toward sexuality and extramarital sex compared to the United States, the results con rmed a similar pattern of sex di erence. ...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the variations and diversity of human mating systems and cultural differences and similarities in the nature of and attitudes toward infidelity. Altogether, this chapter reviews and shows what is constituted as infidelity in one culture might not necessarily be considered as infidelity in another culture. While there has been some cross-cultural research to evaluate differences and similarities across societies and populations in infidelity, the literature still lacks proper research on what is considered as infidelity in different cultures, societies, and traditions. The current issues of research such as lack of diversity, (i.e., sample limitation to heterosexual, middle-to-upper-class, white, undergraduate students, from Western and industrialized societies, majority from the United States) are noted. Moreover, this chapter argues that the intense interest among behavioral researchers in identifying a universal sex difference in distress over sexual and emotional aspects of infidelity has resulted in neglect of exploring the nature of infidelity and the cultural variations in the attitudes toward infidelity. Finally, by signifying a limited research that employed a behavioral ecological approach, this chapter calls for cross-cultural research based on a behavioral ecological approach on cultural differences and similarities in the nature of infidelity.
... Consistent with this prediction, there is considerable literature, which indicates that a partner's infidelity would trigger negative emotions such as anger and jealousy (Becker et al., 2004;Buss et al., 1992;Carpenter, 2012;Sagarin et al., 2003;Shackelford et al., 2002; see also Guerrero et al., 2011). For example, Shackelford et al. (2000) identified 15 emotional reactions to infidelity, including feeling undesirable, depressed, and shocked. ...
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Infidelity is relatively common, with culprits not always been able to keep it secret from their partners. Accordingly, the current research aimed to study people's reactions to their partners' infidelity. More specifically, using qualitative research methods on a sample of 226 Greek‐speaking participants, Study 1 identified 94 possible reactions to infidelity. Study 2 employed quantitative research methods on a sample of 757 Greek‐speaking participants, and classified these reactions into 17 broad factors. Among the most probable reactions, were experiencing negative emotions, terminating the relationship, keeping physical distance from the unfaithful partner, and getting more information about the incident. Significant gender and age effects were found for several of the extracted factors. Using second‐order principal components analysis, the extracted factors were classified into four broader domains. The current research contributes to understanding an important aspect of human mating behavior, and its findings could be used to develop better ways to deal with infidelity.
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Chapter
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