Original article:

Spatial distance regulates sex-specific feelings to suspected sexual and emotional infidelity

Evolutionary Psychology 9(3): 417-429 Achim Schützwohl, Department of Psychology, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom, achim.schuetzwohl@brunel.ac.ukSheena Morjaria, Department of Psychology, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, United KingdomShahin Alvis, Department of Psychology, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom

Abstract

The present study investigates the hitherto neglected influence of the spatial distance between the jealous person, the partner, and a potential rival as a proximate contextual factor regulating emotion intensity. The study tested four predictions. (1) The jealousy mechanism responds with mild negative feelings at most as long as the partner is close to the jealous person. (2) The negative feelings increase when the partner is far from the jealous person but the rival is close. (3) The most uncomfortable feelings result when the partner and the rival are close together and both far from the jealous person. (4) Based on the evolutionary psychological considerations, men report stronger negative feelings than women when suspecting sexual infidelity. Conversely, women report stronger negative feelings than men when suspecting emotional infidelity. The results confirmed predictions 1 and 4. Reversing predictions 2 and 3, the close rival consistently elicited the most uncomfortable feelings. Implications and limitations of the present study are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.

Keywords

jealousy, sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, evolutionary psychology, sex differences, spatial distance, proximate contextual factor

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)
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