Science has an answer for loyalty in relationships

Washington: Science has an answer as to why couples stay committed to their partners even when they meet more attractive people in their lifetime.

According to a recent study, those in relationships actually see tempting the people outside of their partnership as less attractive. This perceptual bias could represent a non-conscious method of self-control that assists in overcoming temptations in order to facilitate long-term goals of staying with a romantic partner.

In a recent set of experiments, psychologists Dr. Shana Cole, Dr. Yaacov Trope and Dr. Emily Balcetis from the New York University found evidence that couples downgrade the appearance of people they perceive as threatening their relationships.

Most previous research in this area has focused on explicit biases, where the participants know they are judging attractiveness and reporting their thoughts about another person. This study is the first to look for implicit or non-conscious visual biases that may aid partners in staying committed to a relationship.

The result concluded that a downgrading bias occurs because the people in relationship actually perceive the individual other than their partners as less attractive.

Talking about the study, Dr. Shana Cole said, “Misperceiving attractive people who represent threats to the relationship as less attractive may help people resist the inclination to pursue them.”

He further said this is especially important since finding someone physically attractive is a primary reason why the people choose to date or romantically pursue someone.

Co-author Emily Balcetis notes, “This work suggests that there are processes that may take place outside of conscious awareness to make it easier to stay committed to one’s own partner.”

This research has been published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (ANI)