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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Nov;83(5):1103-16.

Sex differences in jealousy: evolutionary mechanism or artifact of measurement?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. d.desteno@neu.edu

Abstract

Two studies are presented that challenge the evidentiary basis for the existence of evolved sex differences in jealousy. In opposition to the evolutionary view, Study I demonstrated that a sex difference in jealousy resulting from sexual versus emotional infidelity is observed only when judgments are recorded using a forced-choice response format. On all other measures, no sex differences were found; both men and women reported greater jealousy in response to sexual infidelity. A second study revealed that the sex difference on the forced-choice measure disappeared under conditions of cognitive constraint. These findings suggest that the sex difference used to support the evolutionary view of jealousy (e.g., D. M. Buss, R. Larsen, D. Westen, & J. Semmelroth, 1992; D. M. Buss et al., 1999) likely represents a measurement artifact resulting from a format-induced effortful decision strategy and not an automatic, sex-specific response shaped by evolution.

PMID:
12416915
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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