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Jealousy can drive us to view ourselves more like our rivals
Date:7/10/2013

July 10, 2013 - If you see your partner flirt with someone else, you may feel hurt, angry, and jealous. The last thing you might expect is to start thinking of yourself more like your rival. New research suggests just that: that jealousy can prompt people to change how they view themselves relative to competitors for their partners' attention.

Previous research has shown that individuals often will change their self-views to be more similar to someone to whom they want to get closer, such as a romantic partner. "However, a rival isn't someone that individuals should like, let alone want to affiliate with," Erica Slotter of Villanova University. "This work was really novel in that we were looking at whether individuals would be willing to shift their self-views to be more similar to a romantic rival."

Across three studies published online today in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Slotter and colleagues tested what happens to people when in a jealous state. They predicted that individuals would only change their self-views if they thought their partner was interested in someone else. "This meant that individuals should not change their self-views if someone flirts with their partner, but the partner doesn't respond with interest," Slotter says.

In one of the studies, 144 romantically involved men and women completed an online survey about personal attributes, such as artistic, musical, or athletic ability . The researchers then asked the participants to imagine either that their partner expressed romantic interest in someone else or not. In some of the scenarios, the other person expressed romantic interest in their partner, but the partner did not respond.

In one of the scenarios, for example, the participants would imagine walking through a shopping mall with their romantic partner when an attractive individual of the sex their partner would be attracted to walked by. The partner would then say "Did you
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Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
spsp.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-3195
Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Source:Eurekalert

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