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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2011 May;100(5):827-37. doi: 10.1037/a0021993.

How can you resist? Executive control helps romantically involved individuals to stay faithful.

Author information

1
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. t.pronk@psych.ru.nl

Abstract

In the present research, we examined why some people have more difficulty than others in staying faithful to their romantic partners. Three studies supported our main prediction that executive control is associated with romantically involved individuals' ability to stay faithful. Study 1 showed that participants with a higher level of executive control reported less difficulty in staying faithful to their partners than did those with lower levels of executive control. In Study 2, romantically involved male participants were placed in a waiting room together with an attractive female confederate. Results showed that participants with a higher level of executive control showed less flirting behavior with the confederate than did those with lower levels of executive control. Study 3 demonstrated that a higher level of executive control was related to a lower expressed desire to meet an attractive other, but only for romantically involved participants. Together, these studies showed that executive control helps romantically involved individuals to deal with the lure of attractive alternatives.

PMID:
21244181
DOI:
10.1037/a0021993
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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