Wednesday, 16 Jul, 2008 Science

Men are Simply not Programmed to Resist the Temptation, Study Says


When it comes to temptation, men and women in relationships tend to react differently, when they meet an attractive person of the opposite sex. Scientists found that men are inclined to evaluate their partner more negatively, if they meet an attractive available woman. Women, otherwise, are more likely to appreciate their current relationships more, when meeting an attractive stranger.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that men also think that flirting with an attractive woman will not do any harm to their relationships, while women see flirting as a threatening sign and tend to protect their relationships.

The study involved seven laboratory experiments to evaluate how heterosexual men and women react to the availability of an attractive person and how this influences their relationships. Overall, 724 participants of 22.2 years old on average took part in the research.

During one of the experiments, 71 of the men volunteers, who were currently involved in romantic relationships for 12 month on average, were introduced to an attractive woman. Almost half of them interacted with an attractive and available woman, while the other half was introduced to an attractive but unavailable woman.

After the test, men were given a questionnaire, were the participants had to answer how they would react in four situations when their current partner had done something wrong, like revealing an embarrassing thing about them or lying about the reason of being late.

The findings showed that men who were introduced to attractive an available alternative were 12 percent less likely to forgive their partner. In the same experiment that involved 58 female participants, women who met an attractive available man were 17.5 percent more inclined to forgive their man.

John E. Lydon, PhD of McGill University in Montreal and the leading author of the study said that the findings prove that men are unable to resist the temptation, just because they think of flirtation differently than women and are not aware that it can be a threat to their relationships.

During the last experiment, the researchers were determined to see if it is possible to distance men from an attractive woman, when they were learned to plan the situation beforehand. The half of 40 men was asked to imagine the situation, when they are approached by an attractive woman and then write down what they would do to protect their relationships. The experiment showed that in the situation, when men had previously thought about their behavior in connection to an attractive available person of the opposite sex, they were more likely to avoid these attractive strangers.

On the other hand, women do not need to be taught to plan a strategy when meeting an attractive man as this automatically activates their thoughts of commitment. Scientists say that even in the situation when a man is in a relationship, he may need to visualize the consequences and plan a strategy to protect his relationships. And though, that doesn't guarantee the 100 success, it may considerably reduce the chances of the negative outcomes for their relationships.

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