2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Scientists at Rutgers and New York University have offered an explanation of how people in monogamous relationships manage to remain faithful to each other. One such limiting factor, according to psychologists who published an article in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, is that happy couples feel less attractive to people who are potentially dangerous to their relationship.
The authors of the work set up two experiments in which nearly 250 people took part. Among them were both single and in a relationship between men and women. Psychologists told the study participants that they would soon be working with a person of the opposite sex sitting next to the door, and therefore they should form a first impression of him by exchanging information.
Volunteers filled out a questionnaire in which they answered various questions about themselves, including the question of whether they are in a romantic relationship and how happy they are in it. After that, the participants gave it away for exchange with a future colleague, and in return received a questionnaire that was allegedly filled out by another person (in reality, psychologists answered the questions). In the first experiment, among other information in the answers to the questions, it was indicated whether a person is single or has a permanent partner, and in the second - whether he is in an active search. While reading the questionnaire, the participants also looked at the photograph of the man or woman with whom they were to work.
Then the researchers took all the materials and gave a “knowledge test” about a future colleague, arguing that if the questions were answered correctly, the volunteers would be included in the list of participants in the lottery where they could win $ 50. In addition to the test, the experimenters also showed men and women 11 photographs of the face of a future work partner. One face among all was original, while facial features in other photographs were adjusted so that the person became more or less attractive (this parameter was calibrated in pilot studies). The participants in the experiment had to determine which photo they looked at the first time.
The original photo and its modified variations. More attractive on the right, less attractive on the left.
As a result, scientists noticed that those volunteers who were in a relationship and looked at the face of a potentially “dangerous” person (that is, alone or in active search), chose a photo where the facial features were tweaked so that he seemed less attractive. Moreover, the participants who were happy in the relationship more often chose ugly faces in the event of a “threat,” while potential colleagues in the relationship seemed to them, on the contrary, more attractive.
Based on the study, the researchers concluded that biased perceptions of another person's appearance can help people cope with temptations that threaten their current relationship. This work, according to psychologists, indicates that perception is also involved in the regulation of emerging conflicts associated with self-control.