It's complicated

Study finds marked gender differences in how infidelity provokes jealousy

A couple holding hands. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study from Norway has found that men and women have marked gender differences regarding what provokes jealousy, strengthening arguments that favor an evolutionary explanation of gendered reproductive behavior. Recent research on jealousy preceding the Norway study had found that men tend to be more jealous of sexual infidelity and that women tend to be more jealous of emotional infidelity — when a partner becomes emotionally attached to another woman. Some psychologists believe that cultured gender roles cause this disparity, and that in a more egalitarian society men, and women would have more identical responses. But in the study from Norway, a forerunner in gender equality, large sex differences persisted, lending modest support to an evolutionary theory which proposes that differing reproductive pressures facing men and women causes the split. The extent of Norway’s gender-equality is not enough to really discount the cultural explanation, but for now it seems likely that evolution has a role in causing men and women to perceive infidelity differently.

Read the full story at EurekAlert! Science News.

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