THURSDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Women really can be blinded by jealousy, according to a new study.
Researchers had heterosexual couples sit near each other at separate computers. The woman was told to look for pictures of landscapes amid rapidly flashing images, while trying to ignore the occasional gruesome or upsetting image.
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At the same time, her male partner was told to rate the attractiveness of landscapes that appeared on his computer screen. Partway through the experiment, a researcher announced that the man would now rate the attractiveness of single women.
The more jealous women felt about this, the more they were so distracted by unpleasant images that they weren't able to see their target pictures of attractive landscapes, said University of Delaware psychology professors Steven Most and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau.
The study authors said it's long been known that mental and physical health can be affected by emotions associated with social relationships, but these findings demonstrate that social emotions can literally affect what people see.
The study appears in the April issue of the journal Emotion.
Further experiments are needed to determine whether men can be blinded by jealousy, the researchers said.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: University of Delaware, news release, April 13, 2010
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