How the brain helps to be faithful partner

In today's world of possibilities to find new partners for a romantic relationship more than ever before. Nevertheless, most of us manage to be faithful. It turns out that it's not just ethics and principles. The brain protects us from change.

How the brain helps to be faithful partner

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If we are in a relationship that suit us, our brain facilitates the task of reducing the attractiveness of our eyes other potential partners. This conclusion was a social psychologist Shana Cole (Shana Cole) and her colleagues at the New York University 1. They studied the psychological mechanisms that help to remain faithful to your partner.

In previous studies of this kind participants were asked directly how attractive they find other potential partners, so it's possible that their responses to such a "sensitive" topic could be insincere.

In the new study, the researchers decided to do otherwise and not to put the question directly.

In the main experiment participated 131 students. The participants were shown photographs of potential partners (the opposite sex) on laboratory work and give them brief information -in particular, it was said, whether he is in a relationship or is free. Then, the students were given a few photos of the same classmate and asked to choose the most similar to the first photo. In this case, the students did not know that the second series of photographs was edited on a computer in such a way that some of these people look more attractive than they really are, while others - less attractive.

The participants underestimated the appeal of the new potential partners, if they were satisfied with their relationships

The students were in a relationship, we evaluated the attractiveness of new potential partners lower than the actual level. They believed this photo look like a "degraded" picture.

When photos of the experiment participant and the people were not in a relationship, the human appeal of the photograph was assessed higher than it actually is (the actual photo was considered like a "better").

In a second similar experiment was attended by 114 students. The study authors also found that participants underestimate the attraction of new potential partners only if they are satisfied with their own relationships. Those who were not very happy with the relationship with current partner, reacted about the same as students who are not in a relationship.

What are these results? The authors believe that, if we are already in a committed relationship, which is pretty, our brain helps to store loyalty, spared from temptation - people of the opposite sex (available and potentially available) strike us as less attractive than it really is.

1 S. Cole et al. "In the Eye of the Betrothed: Perceptual Downgrading of Attractive Alternative Romantic Partners", Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, vol. 42, № 7.