Jealousy Research

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Studies on the presence of jealousy in romantic relationships have been increasingly polarized, with some researchers viewing jealousy as a destructive force in the maintenance of relationships while others view it as a positive measure of commitment (Ammon, 2004). Connected with rejection, jealousy is defined as a combination of feelings, thoughts and actions that arise following a real or perceived threat to one’s relationship (Ammon, 2004). “Sexual” jealousy evocation stimulates angry impulses and approach behaviours that function to maintain one’s relationship by disrupting affiliations between one’s partner and a perceived or real foe (Harmin-Jones, Peterson, & Harris, 2009).
Harmon-Jones et al. (2009) designed a controlled and ethically sound method to arouse jealousy in the lab and observe the pattern of neural activity that is elicited when an individual actively experiences jealousy. Participants took part in a computer-generated ball-tossing game in which individuals were required to choose a partner from an assembly of photos and following the first 2 min of the game, half of the participants were ostracized by their chosen partner (the partner failed to toss the ball to them). The study found that when participants were rejected (especially by the opposite-sex partner); jealousy (feelings of anger) was induced. Additionally, it was found that the experience of jealousy (and anger) was linked to greater activation of the left frontal lobe. This study was successful in highlighting the contextual process of jealousy evocation in budding relationships (in this case, through ostracism) and also paved the way for more complex research on the role of jealousy in the maintenance of a variety of romantic relationships.
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...tners might view other, more attractive alternatives more favourably (absence of perceived superiority) which would provide them with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to move on.
Additionally, this study can also provide extension into the understanding of partner abuse, which is twice as likely in on-off relationships (Moses, 2013). When difficulties arise in on-off relationships, couples lack the behaviours and social skills to diffuse conflict which then aggregates the issue into various forms of abuse (Moses, 2013). With an understanding of the positive influences of negative relational maintenance behaviours, it would be beneficial to use the knowledge from the hypothesized results to educate couples to erase negative connotations surrounding behaviours such as jealousy and manage them in ways that would strengthen and overcome relationship struggles.
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