Article

The wandering eye perceives more threats: Projection of attraction to alternative partners predicts anger and negative behavior in romantic relationships

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

The current study tested the predictions that (a) people project their own attraction to alternative romantic or sexual partners onto their romantic partners and (b) this projection shapes anger and negative behavior toward romantic partners. These predictions were supported in a dyadic daily experiences study of 96 heterosexual romantic couples. Participants’ self-reported attraction to alternative partners predicted perceptions of the partner’s interest independently of, and more strongly than, the partner’s own self-reported attraction, suggesting that participants projected their own extradyadic attraction onto their partners. Furthermore, this projection predicted perceivers’ own anger and negative behaviors directed at their partners more strongly than did the partner’s self-reported attraction. Results suggest that participants were angry and antagonistic when they thought their partners were interested in alternative partners, but that this suspicion was a projection of their own attraction to alternatives more than it was an accurate reflection of their partner’s attraction. Results suggest that projection of extradyadic attraction has an important influence on relationship quality and may exacerbate the negative relationship consequences of attraction to alternative partners.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... One possible explanation is that people project their self-control level onto their partner, which is related to trust. For example, Neal and Lemay (2019) found that partners who feel attracted to alternative others, which can be interpreted as a sign of low self-control, assume that their partner is attracted to others too. Perhaps, people who have low levels of self-control think that their partner has low levels of self-control too and is not trustworthy. ...
Article
Full-text available
This research investigated the interplay between self-control, trust, and intrusive behaviors in heterosexual relationships. While past work mainly focused on actor self-control, we additionally considered the role of partner self-control in both men's and women's tendency to show intrusive behaviors. Specifically, we hypothesized that a lack of self-control in the partner elicits intrusive behaviors through low levels of trust in the partner. We collected data from 104 couples and 52 individuals (N = 260, M age = 35.11, SD age = 10.77) via a crowd-working platform. Analysis using an Actor Partner Interdependence Mediation Model with a bootstrapping method showed that trust mediated the association between partner self-control and intrusive behaviors. Additionally, actor self-control had a marginal indirect effect on intrusive behaviors through trust. The results were consistent across both genders. This research revealed that low levels of either actor or partner self-control are risk factors for privacy invasion in romantic relationships.
... 23,24 How communicating with relationship alternatives affects the perpetrator is an understudied topic. 25 We attempt to extend this line of research by examining the effects of back-burner communication on the feelings of the admirer. ...
Article
Back burners are people with whom one communicates to potentially establish a future romantic or sexual relationship, and these relationships are common among college students. Using a sample of noncollege adults currently in committed relationships (N = 246) obtained via Amazon's MTurk, this study examines how a prior relationship role with a desired back burner (i.e., whether a back burner was an ex-partner or not) affects digital communication and sexual activity with back burners, and participants' negative affect. Sequential mediation analysis revealed that when the most-desired back burner was also an ex-partner (vs. not), participants digitally communicated more, increased communication was positively related to sexual activity with that back burner, and sexual activity was associated with negative affect in the participant. Even in the absence of sexual activity, both increased digital communication and simply having an ex-partner as one's most-desired back burner were associated with negative affect. Limitations and implications for staying in touch with ex-partners are discussed.
... Individuals in romantic relationships face daily temptations from attractive alternatives (Neal & Lemay, 2017). Studies on heterosexual individuals' long-term relationship maintenance found that being interested in desirable opposite-sex persons could lead to infidelity and even relationship dissolution (McNulty et al., 2018;Miller, 1997), which could cause negative psychological and health outcomes (e.g., Hall & Fincham, 2009;Wardlow, 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
Studies about heterosexual individuals’ long-term relationship maintenance have indicated that committed individuals possess evolved psychological mechanisms that help protect their ongoing romantic relationships against threats from attractive others during early stage attentional processing when mating-related motivation is activated. In this study, two experiments tested the relationship maintenance mechanism among committed female college students in the Chinese cultural context under different love priming conditions. Committed Chinese women displayed inattention to attractive alternatives in positive love-scenario priming (Study 1: 114 female undergraduates, age range = 18–26 years), subliminal semantic love priming (Study 2: 110 female undergraduates, age range = 18–25 years), and baseline conditions (Studies 1 and 2). Those with high levels of chronic jealousy showed significantly increased attention to and difficulty disengaging attention from attractive rivals when subliminally primed with love. This provides further evidence, from an Eastern cultural context, for the existence of attentional biases toward attractive alternatives and rivals in early stage attentional processes for relationship maintenance. This research also illustrates the important role of romantic love in maintaining long-term romantic relationships.
... This finding suggests that crushes may not have the same negative associations with particular individual characteristics and relationship quality as found in the attention to alternatives literature. Researchers have theorised that attention to alternatives is trait-like in nature due to its stability over time and its association with other stable characteristics (e.g., avoidant attachment, unrestrictive sociosexual orientation; McNulty et al., 2018;Miller, 2008;Neal & Lemay, 2017). Although crushes are related, we argue that they are more state-like in nature and may occur as a result of a constellation of various factors, including opportunity, repeated interactions, and mood. ...
Article
Full-text available
Potential alternative partners can threaten the stability of established relationships, yet a romantic or sexual attraction to someone with whom you are not currently involved (i.e., a ‘crush’) appears common for those in relationships (Mullinax, Barnhart, Mark, & Herbenick, 2016). This study assessed prevalence of such crushes, individual and relationship predictors, and links to infidelity. Adults ( N = 247, aged 25–45, 43.3% women) in romantic relationships completed surveys assessing individual characteristics (attention to alternatives, sociosexual orientation, attachment avoidance), relationship quality (satisfaction, commitment, intimacy), and infidelity. The degree of attention to alternatives predicted whether one had a crush on another while in a romantic relationship. Crushes were fairly common and seemed to have had few negative implications for those in established relationships. These findings will be of use to therapists addressing couples’ attraction to others.
... Further, committed individuals are equipped with a set of relationship maintenance strategies aimed to keep themselves interested in the current relationship. Given the frequent temptations of extradyadic relationships people face in everyday life (Neal and Lemay 2017), one way committed individuals can stay with their current partner with unwavering conviction has to do with the way they handle the presence of appealing alternatives. For example, committed individuals are inclined to remain disinterested by paying less attention to the alternatives (Maner et al. 2008;Miller 1997), perceiving them to be less attractive (Simpson et al. 1990), processing information about the alternatives in a selective way (Gagné et al. 2008;Visserman and Karremans 2014), and avoiding engaging in positive interactions with them (Karremans and Verwijmeren 2008;Linardatos and Lydon 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that individuals who are committed to their relationship are less interested in romantic alternatives. This research examined whether the negative association between commitment and interest in alternative partners depends on the level of partner’s commitment. In Study 1, married individuals (N = 289) completed questionnaires assessing their commitment, perceptions of their partner’s commitment, and two indicators of interest in alternatives. We found that committed individuals’ tendency to remain inattentive to alternatives and to report fewer infidelity experiences was significantly weaker among individuals who perceived their partner to be low (vs. high) in commitment. In Study 2, we recruited both members of married couples (N = 156) and replicated the moderating effect of partner commitment using the partner’s self-reports. Our findings suggest that how committed the partner is, or is perceived to be, can play an important role in committed individuals’ faithfulness, highlighting the dyadic processes of relationship maintenance.
... Additionally, a systematic review by Leary, Twenge, and Quinlivan (2006) suggested that people become angry and aggressive following perceived rejection. Similarly, when feeling less valued by close relationship partners, such as perceiving partners to be interested in potential alternatives (Neal & Lemay, 2017;Phillips, 2010) or being less supportive and responsive (Lemay & Neal, 2013), people tend to experience more negative emotions, including anger. These studies suggest that people's perceptions of being treated badly by their partners can elicit reciprocal anger. ...
Article
The current study used a dyadic daily diary design to examine the transmission of anger over daily interactions within romantic relationships. The results suggested that, when people feel angry in their relationships, they are more likely to engage in destructive behaviors toward their partners. In turn, the enactment of destructive behaviors tends to be perceived by their partners, which elicits partners’ felt anger. Hence, these findings suggest that anger can promote a negative interpersonal process through which anger spreads across partners and reinforces itself. Effects were moderated by agreeableness, but not relationship commitment.
Article
Three experiments evaluated a novel motivated response to alternative threat for committed people, known as perceptions of the partner's devaluation of alternatives (PPD). By being led to perceive lower partner commitment (Study 1a and 1b) or that the partner was favorably evaluating a highly attractive alternative (Study 2), we found a consistent threat effect across the studies with perceivers reporting lower levels of PPD. However, perceivers reporting greater relational trust or greater perceived partner commitment reported greater PPD, with some evidence of buffering (Study 2). These studies provide preliminary insight into how committed people use perceptions of the partner's commitment to navigate situations involving their partners and threatening alternatives, beyond their own commitment and projective effects.
Article
The hyperperception model was used to derive hypotheses concerning the processes by which people experience romantic jealousy because of their observation of their romantic partners on Facebook. Issues concerning active versus passive observation, personally unknown versus known potential rivals, and relational uncertainty variables were considered. A survey of undergraduates and community members was conducted to test these hypotheses. The data were generally consistent with the hypotheses and the utility of the hyperperception model for understanding the effects of observing romantic partners’ interactions on Facebook.
Article
In a sample of 68 adult men and 70 adult women from Santiago, Chile, with a mean age of 29.40 years and a median age of 29, the effects of one's own infidelity and that of one's partner on different types of jealousy were examined. Of the respondents 47.1% had ever been unfaithful, and over half (56.5%) reported that their partner had been unfaithful. There were no effects of one's own infidelity and that of one's partner on reactive and anxious jealousy, but those who had been unfaithful, as well as those whose partner had been unfaithful, expressed the highest levels of possessive jealousy. These effects were not moderated by gender nor did age affect jealousy. Women were higher in all types of jealousy than men were.
Article
Full-text available
A Monte Carlo study compared 14 methods to test the statistical significance of the intervening variable effect. An intervening variable (mediator) transmits the effect of an independent variable to a dependent variable. The commonly used R. M. Baron and D. A. Kenny (1986) approach has low statistical power. Two methods based on the distribution of the product and 2 difference-in-coefficients methods have the most accurate Type I error rates and greatest statistical power except in 1 important case in which Type I error rates are too high. The best balance of Type I error and statistical power across all cases is the test of the joint significance of the two effects comprising the intervening variable effect.
Article
Full-text available
Three studies were conducted to investigate the psychometric properties of the newly developed multidimensional jealousy scale (MJS), which provides separate assessments of cognitive, emotional and behavioural jealousy. Good reliability and validity data were obtained for the scale. It has high internal consistency, as well as a clear factor structure. The three components of jealousy correlate with established jealousy scales. The results also show that emotional jealousy is positively related to love, while cognitive jealousy is negatively related to love. All three components are negatively related to liking. Emotional and behavioural jealousy are negatively related to happiness. Thus, both convergent and discriminant validity are established. The MJS is useful in providing a clearer picture of the relationships between the components of jealousy and various psychological variables than traditional unidimensional measures of jealousy. Practical implications of the scale in detecting pathological jealousy are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Although psychologists have long recognized the havoc that a discovered lie can wreak on a relationship, this study indicates that even an undiscovered deception can bring about negative consequences. An experiment explored one such consequence by examining the hypothesis that in a dyadic relationship, if one partner lies to the other, the liar will begin to perceive the recipient as less honest. Participants who were induced to lie to a partner in a believable and, in some conditions, damaging manner then rated the partner on a variety of traits, including honesty. The results indicated a significant reduction in perceived honesty of the recipient of the lie, particularly by participants who told damaging lies. An exploration into the underlying mechanisms of the effect suggested that deceiver's distrust operates through affective means, with the liars justifying their actions in a self-protection motivated version of the false consensus effect.
Article
Full-text available
This research sought to identify cues to a long-term partner's sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity. In Study 1, 204 participants nominated acts that evoke suspicions of sexual or emotional infidelity. In Study 2, 230 participants evaluated these acts on how diagnostic each was of sexual and emotional infidelity. Factor analysis revealed 14 factors of cues, including Anger and Argumentativeness, Exaggerated Affection, Sexual Boredom, and Relationship Dissatisfaction. Twelve factors were differentially diagnostic of sexual versus emotional infidelity. Sexual Boredom, for example, was more diagnostic of sexual infidelity, whereas Relationship Dissatisfaction was more diagnostic of emotional infidelity. Men and women provided higher diagnosticity ratings for acts performed by an opposite-sex versus same-sex target. For ratings collapsed across sex of target, however, women provided higher diagnosticity ratings than did men. Discussion integrates results with previous research on infidelity and suggests important directions for future research on the cues to infidelity.
Article
Full-text available
We generated an inventory of 27 interpersonal behaviors and examined the extent to which participants judged each behavior as cheating on a long-term partner. We predicted variation in these judgments based on participant sex and attachment insecurity. Ratings for items ranged considerably; participants rated sexual behaviors as most indicative of cheating, then erotic behaviors, followed by behaviors consistent with a romantic relationship, and then behaviors related to financial support. Women rated ten items higher than did men, and men's ratings were higher on a minor financial support item. Higher attachment anxiety was associated with higher ratings for 18 of 27 behaviors; higher attachment avoidance was associated with lower scores on five items and higher scores on one item. Principle Axis Factoring identified three dimensions; sexual interaction, behaviors indicating close relationships, and casual social interaction. We discuss these results using the framework of attachment theory and sex-specific mating strategies.
Article
Full-text available
Two studies examined the influence of mate value on responses to infidelity from an evolutionary perspective. Couples were recruited for Study 1, allowing an examination of both participants' self-perceived mate value and their partners' mate value on reactions to hypothetical scenarios describing an incidence of infidelity. As predicted, higher levels of perceived mate value were associated with greater levels of indignation while lower levels of mate value were associated with increased levels of insecurity and anxiety in response to infidelity. In Study 2, participants who had been the victim of infidelity in the past recounted their experiences and reported how they actually responded. Consistent with Study 1, higher levels of mate value were associated with greater levels of indignation in response to infidelity whereas lower levels of mate value were associated with greater levels of insecurity. Taken together, these two studies provide compelling support for the hypothesis that the nature of the distress experienced in response to infidelity is influenced by an individual's perceived mate value.
Article
Full-text available
Across human societies, people form long-term romantic bonds that can last a lifetime. Many theorists have proposed that the emotion love plays a causal role in maintaining these bonds, but no work to date has tested this hypothesis directly. In this study, we predicted that feeling love for a romantic partner would facilitate suppressing thoughts of attractive alternative mates. We used a relived emotion task to induce love or sexual desire for a romantic partner and asked participants to suppress thoughts of an attractive alternative. After suppression, participants in the love condition reported fewer thoughts of the attractive alternative and accurately recalled fewer attractiveness-related details about the alternative than those in the desire condition. Reports of love, but not sexual desire, predicted greater commitment to the current partner during the study. These results suggest that love serves a function distinct from desire and that love can operate as a commitment device.
Article
Full-text available
Mate retention behaviors are designed to solve several adaptive problems such as deterring a partner's infidelity and preventing defection from the mating relationship. Although many mate retention behaviors appear to be innocuous romantic gestures (e.g., displaying resources, giving flowers), some may be harbingers of violence. We investigated the associations between male mate retention and violence against women in romantic relationships. In Study 1, 461 men reported their use of mate retention behaviors and separately completed instruments designed to assess violence in their relationships. Study 2 assessed 560 women's reports of their partners’ mate retention behaviors and the degree to which their partners used violence against them. As predicted, and across both studies, men's use of particular mate retention behaviors was related positively to female-directed violence. Study 3 secured 2 separate data sources—husbands’ reports of their mate retention and wives’ reports of their husbands’ violence in a sample of 214 individuals forming 107 couples. The results corroborated those of Studies 1 and 2, with particular male mate retention behaviors predicting violence against romantic partners. The general discussion outlines future directions for research that are likely to result in a more comprehensive understanding of partner violence against women.
Article
Full-text available
Alcohol use and intimate partner violence (IPV) are significantly related, but only a subset of individuals who drink are aggressive and relatively little is known about what moderates this relationship in community samples. Two risk factors, anger control and jealousy, were hypothesized to moderate the relationship between IPV and problem drinking in a sample of 453 community couples. A significant three-way interaction indicated that men with jealousy problems, but not anger control problems, were most likely to show the strongest association between problem drinking and IPV. In accord with the multiple threshold model of IPV, specific combinations of risk factors appeared to represent different thresholds in which problem drinking influenced the likelihood of IPV.
Article
Full-text available
On the basis of an interdependence analysis, it is proposed that commitment to a close relationship is associated with cognitive interdependence—a mental state characterized by a pluralistic, collective representation of the self-in-relationship. A cross-sectional survey study and a 2-wave longitudinal study revealed that strong commitment to a romantic relationship is associated with greater spontaneous plural pronoun usage, greater perceived unity of self and partner, and greater reported relationship centrality. Commitment and cognitive interdependence operate in a cycle of mutual influence, such that earlier commitment predicts change over time in cognitive interdependence, and earlier cognitive interdependence predicts change over time in commitment. Links between commitment and cognitive interdependence were weak or nonsignificant for relationships among best friends, suggesting that this phenomenon may be unique to romantic relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved). (from the journal abstract)
Article
Full-text available
Most models of how perceivers infer the widespread attitudes and qualities of social groups revolve around either the self (social projection, false consensus) or stereotypes (stereotyping). The author suggests people rely on both of these inferential strategies, with perceived general similarity moderating their use, leading to increased levels of projection and decreased levels of stereotyping. Three studies featuring existing individual differences in perceived similarity as well as manipulated perceptions supported the predictions, with similarity yielding increased projection to, and decreased stereotyping of, various in-groups and out-groups. Evidence that projection and stereotyping may serve as inferential alternatives also emerged. The model and accompanying results have implications for research on social comparison and projection, stereotyping and prejudice, and social inference.
Article
Full-text available
Two studies used a thought-listing technique to examine perceived superiority, or the inclination to regard one's own relationship as better than (and not as bad as) others' relationships. Consistent with the claim that this is a motivated phenomenon-and motivated in part by strong commitment-Study 1 revealed that (a) tendencies toward perceived superiority and (b) the commitment-superiority link are both strongest given psychologically threatening instructions and weakest given accuracy instructions (control instructions are intermediate). Consistent with the claim that this phenomenon serves a functional purpose, Study 2 revealed that earlier perceived superiority predicts later relationship status (persisted vs. ended) and increases over time in dyadic adjustment. Also, commitment accounts for unique variance in perceived superiority beyond self-esteem.
Article
Full-text available
Partners in close relationships can be both accurate and biased in their perceptions of each other. Moreover, sometimes a bias can lead to accuracy. The authors describe a paradigm for the simultaneous measurement of accuracy and bias in 2-person relationships. One prevalent bias in close relationships is assumed similarity: Does the person think that his or her partner sees the world as he or she does? In a study of 238 dating and married heterosexual couples, the authors found evidence for both bias and accuracy: the bias effects were considerably stronger, especially when the measure was linked to the relationship. They found little or no evidence for gender differences in accuracy and bias.
Article
Full-text available
A Monte Carlo study compared 14 methods to test the statistical significance of the intervening variable effect. An intervening variable (mediator) transmits the effect of an independent variable to a dependent variable. The commonly used R. M. Baron and D. A. Kenny (1986) approach has low statistical power. Two methods based on the distribution of the product and 2 difference-in-coefficients methods have the most accurate Type I error rates and greatest statistical power except in 1 important case in which Type I error rates are too high. The best balance of Type I error and statistical power across all cases is the test of the joint significance of the two effects comprising the intervening variable effect.
Article
Full-text available
Interdependence theory presents a logical analysis of the structure of interpersonal situations, offering a conceptual framework in which interdependence situations can be analyzed in terms of six dimensions. Specific situations present specific problems and opportunities, logically implying the relevance of specific motives and permitting their expression. Via the concept of transformation, the theory explains how interaction is shaped by broader considerations such as long-term goals and concern for a partner's welfare. The theory illuminates our understanding of social-cognitive processes that are of longstanding interest to psychologists such as cognition and affect, attribution, and self-presentation. The theory also explains adaptation to repeatedly encountered interdependence patterns, as well as the embodiment of such adaptations in interpersonal dispositions, relationship-specific motives, and social norms.
Article
Full-text available
This research tested a social projection model of perceived partner responsiveness to needs. According to this model, people project their own care and supportiveness for a partner onto their perceptions of their partner's caring and supportiveness. In 2 dyadic marriage studies, participants' self-reported responsiveness to the needs of a spouse predicted perceptions of the spouse's responsiveness to the self more strongly than did the spouse's self-reported responsiveness. These projected perceptions of responsiveness, in turn, appeared to promote perceivers' relationship satisfaction. These effects were independent of individual differences in attachment, self-esteem, depression, and communal orientation. A daily-diary component suggested that people projected their own chronic responsiveness as well as their daily enacted support onto perceptions of the specific benefits received from their spouses. A 3rd study found that experimentally manipulated feelings of difficulty in recalling examples of own support provision reduced perceptions of partner responsiveness. Results suggest that projection of own responsiveness is an important determinant of perceived social support and is a means by which caring perceivers maintain satisfying and subjectively communal relationships.
Article
Full-text available
Appropriately centering Level 1 predictors is vital to the interpretation of intercept and slope parameters in multilevel models (MLMs). The issue of centering has been discussed in the literature, but it is still widely misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to provide a detailed overview of grand mean centering and group mean centering in the context of 2-level MLMs. The authors begin with a basic overview of centering and explore the differences between grand and group mean centering in the context of some prototypical research questions. Empirical analyses of artificial data sets are used to illustrate key points throughout. The article provides a number of practical recommendations designed to facilitate centering decisions in MLM applications.
Article
Perceived partner responsiveness refers to the belief that partners care for one's needs and have positive regard for the self. The authors present a model of motivated distortion of partner responsiveness and review research relevant to this model. The model proposes that perceivers who are strongly motivated to bond with particular partners tend to see those partners as responsive, and this occurs independently of partners’ actual responsiveness. Specific cognitive processes, such as biased interpretation and memory, assist motivated perceivers in reaching the desired conclusion that partners are responsive. In turn, biased perceptions of responsiveness may bolster individual and relationship well-being. Several studies support this model.
Article
When women express hostility, the target is typically a significant other. Our efforts to account for this observation center on the role of rejection sensitivity - the disposition to anxiously expect, readily perceive, and overreact to rejection - in women's hostility. We have previously shown that dispositional anxious expectations about rejection by a significant other prompt women to readily perceive rejection and to react with hostility in situations that activate rejection expectations. These findings led us to propose that the hostility of women in such situations is a specific reaction to perceived rejection. Results from three studies support this proposition. Using a priming-pronunciation task paradigm, Study 1 revealed that rejection thoughts facilitated hostile thoughts to a greater extent in women high in rejection expectations (HRS) than in those low in rejection expectations (LRS). Chronic accessibility of hostile thoughts was unrelated to rejection expectations. Study 2 found that, following rejection by a potential dating partner, HRS women evaluated their prospective partners less positively than LRS women. Partner evaluations were unrelated to rejection expectations in a nonrejection control condition. Using a daily diary methodology, Study 3 showed that HRS women were more likely than LRS women to report a conflict with their romantic partners only when they had felt rejected on the previous day.
Article
This study investigated the extent to which reports of marital problems in 1980 predicted divorce between 1980 and 1992, the extent to which these problems mediated the impact of demographic and life course variables on divorce, and gender differences in reports of particular marital problems and in the extent to which these reports predicted divorce. Wives reported more marital problems than husbands did, although this was due to husbands' tendency to report relatively few problems caused by their spouses. A variety of marital problems predicted divorce up to 12 years in the future. A parsimonious set of marital problems involving infidelity, spending money foolishly, drinking or drug use or both, jealousy, moodiness, and irritating habits mediated moderate proportions of the associations between demographic and life course variables and divorce.
Article
We tested the prediction derived from the evolutionary view of jealousy that men preferentially recall cues to sexual infidelity, whereas women preferentially recall cues to emotional infidelity. This preferential recall was predicted to be more pronounced in a personally more threatening than in a personally less threatening context condition. In the personally less threatening context condition, the participants listened to a story about an anonymous couple spending an evening together; in the personally more threatening context condition, the same story referred to one's own romantic relationship. Integrated in this story were five ambiguous cues each to sexual and emotional infidelity. As predicted, in a surprise recall test, men preferentially recalled cues to sexual infidelity, whereas women preferentially recalled cues to emotional infidelity. This preferential recall was significant for both men and women only in the personally more threatening context condition.
Article
Sex differences in motivations for and effects of dating violence are investigated using perceptions of both victims and perpetrators. A total of 495 college students (207 males and 288 females) completed a measure assessing motivation for and effects of dating violence, along with a social desirability measure, a state-trait anger expression inventory, a justification of relationship violence measure, and the Conflict Tactics Scale. Sex differences were evident in numerous motivations for and effects of dating violence and were also influenced by level of violence. Females were less likely to think force could be justifiable. Implications for the specific findings are discussed.
Article
This article employs interdependence theory as a means of understanding how and why some relationships survive difficult times whereas other promising relationships end. Interdependence theory makes important distinctions between satisfaction and dependence. These distinctions are extended in the investment model, a theory of the process by which individuals become dependent on and committed to their relationships. The investment model suggests that dependence increases not only as a consequence of increasing satisfaction, but also because available alternatives are perceived to be poor and numerous important resources are invested in a relationship. Subjective commitment summarizes the nature of an individual's dependence on a partner, and represents broad, long-term orientation toward a relationship. Strong commitment not only makes individuals more likely to remain with their partners, but also promotes a variety of relationship maintenance behaviors such as adaptive social comparison and perceived relationship superiority, derogation of attractive and threatening alternatives, effective management of jealousy and extrarelationship involvements, willingness to sacrifice for the good of a relationship, and tendencies to accommodate rather than retaliate when a partner behaves poorly.
Article
The experimental induction of jealousy threat in a specific situation, using an imagery task, affected subjects' perceptions of themselves and of their romantic relationships, and influenced their emotions. Jealousy-provoking situations increased subjects' perceptions of themselves as jealous in their relationships, and their perceptions of themselves as more emotionally involved in the relationship relative to their partners. Jealousy threat decreased levels of perceived security and stability of the relationship and self-perceived feelings of attractiveness and acceptability to partners. These jealousy-provoking scenes also elicited a complexity of emotions: decreased joy and an increased series of negative emotions. When subjects imagined themselves in a high threat condition, where the loss of their partners seemed imminent, they evaluated their relationships as significantly less secure/ stable, and reported greater intensities of surprise, fear and distress in contrast to the low threat scenes. Dispositional measures of self-esteem and jealousy did not significantly predict jealousy-induced relationship perceptions, although these person variables were somewhat correlated with subjects' ratings of characteristics of their relationships in general. It was concluded that situational variables, such as level of jealousy threat, affect both emotions and cognitions related to the self and relationship based upon the salient characteristics of the situation. Some evidence was found for an interactional explanation of romantic jealousy which requires further investigation.
Article
Given the multifaceted association between infidelity and relationship dissolution, it is crucial that researchers and clinicians not only explore the first-order effects of different variables on the likelihood of relationship termination, but also consider how such factors may interact to cause dissolution or reconciliation. In accordance with this important but admittedly lofty vision of contextualizing the decision to terminate a relationship following infidelity, in this chapter we explore the predictors of relationship dissolution following infidelity, as well as evidence of interdependence among these predictors. In this regard, we consider event-related factors, such as the type of infidelity and degree of involvement; cognitive factors, such as attributions and attitudes regarding extradyadic involvement and the other spouses' awareness of the infidelity; and individual or partner characteristics and relationship variables. After exploring the various determinants of relationship dissolution following infidelity, we consider the impact of extradyadic behavior on postmarital adjustment. In the penultimate section of the chapter, we examine the role of couple therapy and forgiveness in the aftermath of infidelity. Finally, we explore future directions for clinical work and research. However, we begin with a brief review of the infidelity literature to lay the foundation for later sections of the chapter. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We tested the prediction derived from the evolutionary view of jealousy that men preferentially recall cues to sexual infidelity, whereas women preferentially recall cues to emotional infidelity. This preferential recall was predicted to be more pronounced in a personally more threatening than in a personally less threatening context condition. In the personally less threatening context condition, the participants listened to a story about an anonymous couple spending an evening together; in the personally more threatening context condition, the same story referred to one's own romantic relationship. Integrated in this story were five ambiguous cues each to sexual and emotional infidelity. As predicted, in a surprise recall test, men preferentially recalled cues to sexual infidelity, whereas women preferentially recalled cues to emotional infidelity. This preferential recall was significant for both men and women only in the personally more threatening context condition.
Article
This study investigated the effects of an individual's marital type (Traditional, Independent, Separate) on marital satisfaction and jealousy. Three significant findings emerged. First, Traditionals were found to be more satisfied with their marriages than Independents or Separates. Second, marital satisfaction was found to be negatively correlated with cognitive jealousy (r= ‐.64), behavioral jealousy (r = ‐.43) and emotional jealousy (r = ‐.31). Finally, Independents reported significantly more cognitive jealousy than Traditionals. Implications for the study of communication within intimate relationships are discussed.
Book
www.intensivelongitudinal.com : A complete, practical guide to planning and executing an intensive longitudinal study, this book provides the tools for understanding within-subject social, psychological, and physiological processes in everyday contexts. Intensive longitudinal studies involve many repeated measurements taken on individuals, dyads, or groups, and include diary and experience sampling studies. A range of engaging, worked-through research examples with datasets are featured. Coverage includes how to: select the best intensive longitudinal design for a particular research question, model within-subject change processes for continuous and categorical outcomes, distinguish within-subject from between-subjects effects, assess the reliability of within-subject changes, assure sufficient statistical power, and more. Several end-of-chapter write-ups illustrate effective ways to present study findings for publication. Datasets and output in SPSS, SAS, Mplus, HLM, MLwiN, and R for the examples are available on the companion website (www.intensivelongitudinal.com).
Article
This work tested the hypothesis that persons who are more committed to their relationships devalue potential alternative partners, especially attractive and threatening alternatives. In Study 1, a longitudinal study, perceived quality of alternatives decreased over time among stayers but increased for leavers. In Study 2, a computer dating service paradigm, more committed persons exhibited greatest devaluation of alternatives under conditions of high threat—when personally evaluating extremely attractive alternative partners. In Study 3, a simulation experiment, the tendency to reject and devalue alternatives was greater under conditions of high commitment. In all three studies, tendencies to devalue were more strongly linked to commitment than to satisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
Presents an analysis of prorelationship behavior that rests on the principles and constructs of interdependence theory. The authors suggest that prorelationship behavior comes about as a consequence of a phenomenon termed "transformation of motivation." They then advance a dual-process model of interdependence in close relationships, proposing that 2 key variables—commitment and trust—play central roles in shaping motivation and behavior in ongoing relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Many researchers have examined the justifications individuals give after being unfaithful to their romantic partners. However, very little research has been done to determine factors that actually predict infidelity. Two studies were conducted using the investment model (C. E. Rusbult, 1980, 1983) to predict instances of physical and emotional infidelity in dating relationships. The 1st study found that commitment level at the beginning of the semester successfully predicted later emotional and physical infidelity. The 2nd study used an interaction diary method to predict the physical and emotional intimacy of nonpartner opposite-sex interactions over the course of the week-long university holiday known as spring break. Once again, commitment level before spring break successfully predicted the emotional and physical intimacy of such interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examines thinking and research relevant to the self-expansion model of motivation and cognition in close relationships. It begins with an explanation of the key elements of the model, followed by a comment on the utility of a model of this kind in terms of the role of metaphor in science. The chapter then considers 2 key processes suggested by the model, discussing the theoretical foundation and research relevant to each. These 2 processes are, first, that relationship satisfaction is increased through the association of the relationship with self-expansion and, second, that the relationship means cognitively that each partner has included the other in his or her self. Implications of the model for 3 other relationship-relevant issues (selectivity in attraction, motivations for unrequited love, and the effects on the self of falling in love) are considered. Concludes with a brief consideration of other relationship-relevant ramifications of the model. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Because it is universally relevant, and because it is formed in infancy, giving it a strong preconscious quality, attachment was chosen for a study of Allport's (1924) construct of social projection. Individuals in 301 dating couples rated themselves and their partners on each of four continuous attachment dimensions (i.e., security, dismissiveness, preoccupation, fearfulness). The individual's own rating on a particular dimension significantly predicted the individual's perception of how the partner rated on the dimension, after controlling for the partner's self-rating on the dimension. Thus people perceived their partners to be more similar to themselves than they really were, demonstrating social projection. In general, the higher the degree of emotional intimacy was, the more social projection was demonstrated.
Article
There can be important reproductive benefits to maintaining a long-term romantic relationship. As a result, humans may possess evolved psychological mechanisms designed to help them maintain their commitment to a long-term mate, particularly when faced with attractive alternative relationship partners. The current study identifies a relationship maintenance process that involves being inattentive to alternative relationship partners. Experimentally eliciting thoughts and feelings of romantic love—an emotion thought to have evolved for the purpose of relationship maintenance—reduced attention to alternative partners at an early, automatic stage of visual perception. Consistent with evolutionary models of mate selection, this reduction in attention was observed only for opposite sex targets displaying high levels of physical attractiveness. This research illustrates the utility of integrating evolutionary models of mating with theory and method from cognitive science.
Article
Most research on jealousy has focused on the correlation between one psychological factor and jealousy. In contrast, the current work examined how the link between relationship commitment and jealousy depends on the interplay of two situational factors: attractiveness of relationship alternatives and receiving threatening information about the self and the romantic relationship. In two studies, participants completed measures of relationship commitment for their current relationship and then received feedback that manipulated their perceptions of relationship alternatives (Study 1) or their perceptions of relationship compatibility (Study 2). Participants' jealousy was assessed by their responses to a mildly threatening relationship situation (Studies 1 and 2) and on a jealousy scale (Study 2). Study 1 showed that those in more committed relationships experienced greater jealousy when they were induced to consider having unattractive relationship alternatives. Study 2 showed that those with greater relationship commitment reported more jealousy when they received negative information about their relationship compatibility. Implications for how threat plays a causal role in experiencing jealousy are discussed.
Article
An examination of self-report scales of 160 men and 76 of their partners or former partners found significant correlations between jealousy and abusiveness (for coupled dyads) or intrusiveness (for separated dyads). Jealousy was related to borderline personality and to MCMI-II measures of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rejection sensitivity leading to pathological acts, such as abusiveness and intrusiveness, is seen as originating in early insecure attachment and exposure to shaming experiences.
Article
Sexual jealousy functions to defend paternity confidence and is therefore expected to be a ubiquitous aspect of male psychology. Several lines of evidence confirm this expectation.Cross-cultural and historical reviews of adultery law reveal remarkable conceptual consistency: unauthorized sexual contact with a married woman is a crime and the victim is the husband.We find male sexual jealousy to be the leading substantive issue in social conflict homicides in Detroit. A cross-cultural review of homicide indicates the ubiquity of this motive.Social psychological studies of “normal” jealousy and psychiatric studies of “morbid” jealousy both suggest that male and female jealousy are qualitatively different in ways consistent with theoretical predictions.Coercive constraint of female sexuality by the use or threat of male violence appears to be cross-culturally universal. Several authors have suggested that there are societies in which women's sexual liberty is restricted only by incest prohibitions, but the ethnographies explicity contradict this claim.
Article
False consensus refers to an egocentric bias that occurs when people estimate consensus for their own behaviors. Specifically, the false consensus hypothesis holds that people who engage in a given behavior will estimate that behavior to be more common than it is estimated to be by people who engage in alternative behaviors. A meta-analysis was conducted upon 115 tests of this hypothesis. The combined effects of the tests of the false consensus hypothesis were highly statistically significant and of moderate magnitude. Further, the 115 tests of false consensus appear to be relatively heterogeneous in terms of significance levels and effect sizes. Correlational analyses and focused comparisons indicate that the false consensus effect does not appear to be influenced by the generality of the reference population, nor by the difference between alternative choices in actual consensus. However, the significance and magnitude of the false consensus effect was significantly predicted by the number of behavioral choices/estimates subjects had to make, and the sequence of measurement of choices and estimates. These patterns of results are interpreted as being inconsistent with the self-presentational, motivational explanation for the false consensus effect.
Article
This paper explores a judgmental heuristic in which a person evaluates the frequency of classes or the probability of events by availability, i.e., by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind. In general, availability is correlated with ecological frequency, but it is also affected by other factors. Consequently, the reliance on the availability heuristic leads to systematic biases. Such biases are demonstrated in the judged frequency of classes of words, of combinatorial outcomes, and of repeated events. The phenomenon of illusory correlation is explained as an availability bias. The effects of the availability of incidents and scenarios on subjective probability are discussed.
Article
SUGGESTED THAT THEORIES OF PROJECTION DIFFER WITH REGARD TO 2 POINTS: (1) WHETHER THE S PROJECTS HIS OWN TRAIT OR A DIFFERENT TRAIT, AND (2) WHETHER THE S IS AWARE OR UNAWARE OF POSSESSING THE TRAIT WHICH RESULTS IN THE PROJECTION. THE 4 POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS RESULTING FROM THESE THEORETICAL DIFFERENCES ARE PLOTTED IN A 2 * 2 TABLE, PROVIDING A SYSTEM IN WHICH THE VARIOUS TYPES OF PROJECTION CAN BE COMPARED. A REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH ON EACH TYPE REVEALS EVIDENCE FOR THE PROJECTION OF S'S OWN TRAIT OR THE COMPLEMENT OF THIS TRAIT IF S IS AWARE THAT HE POSSESSES THE TRAIT. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR ANY TYPE OF PROJECTION RESULTING FROM A TRAIT OF WHICH THE S IS UNAWARE. THIS FINDING CALLS INTO QUESTION THE EXISTENCE AND INTERPRETIVE USE OF CLASSICAL PROJECTION. (2 P. REF.)
Article
People who are sensitive to social rejection tend to anxiously expect, readily perceive, and overreact to it. This article shows that this cognitive-affective processing disposition undermines intimate relationships. Study 1 describes a measure that operationalizes the anxious-expectations component of rejection sensitivity. Study 2 provides experimental evidence that people who anxiously expect rejection readily perceive intentional rejection in the ambiguous behavior of others. Study 3 shows that people who enter romantic relationships with anxious expectations of rejection readily perceive intentional rejection in the insensitive behavior of their new partners. Study 4 demonstrates that rejection-sensitive people and their romantic partners are dissatisfied with their relationships. Rejection-sensitive men's jealousy and rejection-sensitive women's hostility and diminished supportiveness help explain their partners' dissatisfaction.
Article
The authors argue that people are happiest in their relationships when they believe they have found a kindred spirit, someone who understands them and shares their experiences. As reality may not always be that accommodating, however, intimates may find this sense of confidence by egocentrically assuming that their partners are mirrors of themselves. Both members of dating and married couples completed measures of satisfaction and felt understanding. They also described their own and their partners' traits, values, and day-to-day feelings. The results revealed that people in satisfying and stable relationships assimilated their partners to themselves, perceiving similarities that were not evident in reality. Such egocentrism predicted greater feelings of being understood, and feeling understood mediated the link between egocentrism and satisfaction in marriage.
Cognitive interdependence: Commitment and the mental representation of close relationships
  • Agnew C. R.
  • Van Lange P. A.
  • Rusbult C. E.
  • Langston C. A.
Perceived superiority in close relationships: Why it exists and persists
  • Rusbult C. E.
  • Lange P. A. M. V.
  • Wildschut T.
  • Yovetich N. A.
  • Verette J.
Monte Carlo method for assessing mediation: An interactive tool for creating confidence intervals for indirect effects [Computer software]
  • Selig J. P.
  • Preacher K. J.
Dimensions of projection
  • D S Holmes
Holmes, D. S. (1968). Dimensions of projection. Psychological Bulletin, 69, 248-268.
  • Agnew C. R.