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Is Jealousy Different For Men Than For Women?

1976 words - 8 pages

Is Jealousy Different For Men Than For Women?
Research is growing to find if there is a difference among men and women when perceiving jealousy. Specifically emotional reactions to a romantic partner's infidelity, with men showing higher levels jealousy by a partner's sexual infidelity and women showing higher levels by a partner's emotional infidelity (Bailey, Gaulin, Agyei, and Gladue, 1994; Buss, Larsen, Weston, and Semmekoth, 1992; Buunk, Angleitner, Oubaid, and Buss, 1996). However, there is an ongoing discussion as how best to interpret these gender differences, with theorists falling largely into one of the groups: 1) those that view jealousy as an evolved sexual adaptive solution of ...view middle of the document...

Women should be less upset than men to signals of a partner’s sexual infidelity because ancestral women did not face the problem of cuckoldry. However, ancestral women faced a distinctive reproductive challenge not shared by ancestral men, in that they had to eat a very high calorie diet to meet the energy demands related with pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, selection pressures favored ancestral women who responded with jealousy to signals of a partner’s deviation of resources because by doing so they increased the likelihood that they would have the caloric intake sufficient to maintain a healthy pregnancy and an adequate production of breast milk. Buss et al. (1992) argues that the single most consistent indicator to ancestral women that they were in danger of losing a partner’s resources was if their partner was developing an emotional attachment to another woman, because this emotional attachment signaled his willingness to invest resources in this other woman and her offspring.
This theory uses the support from the study that found the sex difference in jealousy evolved through anger or acts of aggressive displayed by men who were evoked by jealous tendencies (Daly and Wilson, 1988), men also use violence to control the sexual behavior of their partner (Daly and Wilson, 1988). In a critical report the findings showed that, when forced to decide if a romantic partner’s sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity angered them more, women were found to choose emotional infidelity over sexual infidelity, in contrast men found sexual infidelity to be more hurtful (Buss, Larsen, Weston, and Semmelroth, 1992). The results found by this study have been duplicated and used the same forced choice method. Although the studies have been supported, there have been studies have reported the opposite results.
Theorists in the second group direct their focus on the social cognition and are not limited to romantic partners. Such as, one could feel jealousy over a sibling receiving more affection from the parent or a coworker receiving more praise from a boss. Harris (2003) disputes that jealousy is trigged by the initial feeling a threat to a relationship but that the exact nature and extent of the emotional reaction is determined by the cognitive assessment of the threat. Using this perspective, sex differences can be determined by the cognitive assessments about threats to a romantic relationship. According to Salovey and Rodin, their domain hypothesis suggests that people will have greater feeling of jealousy of individuals that they see to be more superior to them in domains that are highly relevant (1984). A partner’s attraction to a rival not only points towards a potential of a relationship but also represents a threat to self-esteem, because a partner’s choice of a rival suggests his/her superiority. Further research of social cognitive perspective suggests sex differences in jealousy are consequences of differences in logical inferences men...

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