Jealousy Levels in Response to Infidelity-Revealing Facebook Messages Depend on Sex, Type of Message and Message Composer: Support for the Evolutionary Psychological Perspective
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Sex differences in how and to what extent jealousy manifests have long been documented by evolutionary psychologists with males showing more pronounced responses to sexual infidelity and females to emotional infidelity. With modern technology facilitating the opportunity for extra-pair relations and the means by which inclinations towards infidelity can be monitored, social media is a fertile ground to test hypotheses derived from evolutionarily informed theories. The current study presented male (n = 21) and female (n = 23) undergraduate participants with realistic, unambiguously sexual and emotional messages both sent and received that had been discovered (imagined) on their partner’s Facebook messenger. Distress scores in response to these messages were measured on a scale of 0–10. Broad support for the evolutionary interpretation of sex differences in jealousy was found with more pronounced sexual jealousy in males, and emotional jealousy in females compared to males being evident. Similarly, salient sex differences were observed highlighting the importance of the composer of the infidelity-revealing message. For example, in females, higher distress was found resulting from the discovery of received (female rival) when compared to sent (male partner) messages, and received messages across sex (females higher). The results are discussed in relation to previous findings and in the context of growing concern relating to relationship dissolution and partner-initiated domestic violence.
Evolutionary Psychological Science;
Dunn, M.J. and Billett, G. (2017) 'Jealousy Levels in Response to Infidelity-Revealing Facebook Messages Depend on Sex, Type of Message and Message Composer: Support for the Evolutionary Psychological Perspective', Evolutionary Psychological Science, July 2017, pp.1-7.
This article was published in Evolutionary Psychological Science on 06 July 2017, available open access at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40806-017-0110-z
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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