Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Men And Women Are Programmed Differently When It Comes To Temptation

Date:
July 15, 2008
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Men may not see their flirtations with an attractive woman as threatening to the relationship while women do, according to research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Temptation may be everywhere, but it's how the different sexes react to flirtation that determines the effect it will have on their relationships.
Credit: iStockphoto/Carrie Bottomley

Temptation may be everywhere, but it's how the different sexes react to flirtation that determines the effect it will have on their relationships. In a new study, psychologists determined men tend to look at their partners in a more negative light after meeting a single, attractive woman. On the other hand, women are likelier to work to strengthen their current relationships after meeting an available, attractive man.

Men may not see their flirtations with an attractive woman as threatening to the relationship while women do. Researchers found that women protect their relationship more when an attractive man enters the picture but men look more negatively at their partner after they've met an available, attractive woman. Men can learn to resist temptation when trained to think that flirting with an attractive woman could destroy their relationship, said lead author John E. Lydon, PhD, of McGill University in Montreal.

Researchers conducted seven laboratory experiments using 724 heterosexual men and women to see how college-aged men and women in serious relationships react when another attractive person enters the mix.

In one study, 71 unsuspecting male participants were individually introduced to an attractive woman. Roughly half the men met a "single" woman who flirted with them. The other half met an "unavailable" woman, who simply ignored them.

Immediately after this interaction, the men filled out a questionnaire in which they were asked how they would react if their "romantic partner" had done something that irritated them, such as lying about the reason for canceling a date or revealing an embarrassing tidbit about them. Men who met the attractive "available" woman were 12 percent less likely to forgive their significant others. In contrast, 58 women were put in a similar situation. These women, who met an "available" good-looking man, were 17.5 percent more likely to forgive their partners' bad behavior.

"One interpretation of these studies is that men are unable to ward off temptation. We do not subscribe to this. Instead, we believe men simply interpret these interactions differently than women do," said Lydon. "We think that if men believed an attractive, available woman was a threat to their relationship, they might try to protect that relationship."

Using virtual reality scenarios in the last experiment, the researchers wanted to see if 40 men could learn not to flirt when mingling with attractive women if they formed a plan or strategy beforehand. The researchers prompted half the male subjects in this experiment to visualize being approached by an attractive woman. They were then instructed to write down a strategy to protect their relationship. These men were more likely to distance themselves from an attractive woman in the subsequent virtual reality scenarios.

Lydon says women, on the other hand, don't need to be trained to withhold any reactions when approached by attractive men. "Women have been socialized to be wary of the advances of attractive men," says Lydon. "These findings show that even if a man is committed to his relationship, he may still need to formulate strategies to protect his relationship by avoiding that available, attractive woman. The success rate of such strategies may not be 100 percent but it is likely to be significantly higher than if the man was not made aware of the specific consequences of his actions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lydon et al. If-then contingencies and the differential effects of the availability of an attractive alternative on relationship maintenance for men and women.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008; 95 (1): 50 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.1.50

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Men And Women Are Programmed Differently When It Comes To Temptation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715114145.htm>.
McGill University. (2008, July 15). Men And Women Are Programmed Differently When It Comes To Temptation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715114145.htm
McGill University. "Men And Women Are Programmed Differently When It Comes To Temptation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715114145.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins