Jealousy as a function of rival characteristics: An evolutionary perspective

P Dijkstra*, BP Buunk

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    79 Citations (Scopus)


    Following from om evolutionary psychology, men and women differ in the characteristics they value in a partner. Men value physical attractiveness in women because a woman's physical attractiveness is related to her fertility, whereas women value dominance in men since dominance is related to a man's ability to provide resources. As jealousy is evoked by characteristics of the rival that are believed to be important to the other sex, it was predicted that jealousy in males would be influenced by the rival's dominance, whereas jealousy in females would be influenced by the rival's physical attractiveness. In an experiment, participants were presented with a scenario in which the participants' partners were flirting with an individual of the opposite sex. Each participant then received one of four profiles of rivals for the partner's attentions consisting of a photograph (low or high in attractiveness) and a personality description (low or high in dominance). Results showed that the hypotheses were supported. rn addition, the rival's dominance had a greater impact on males' jealousy if males were exposed to a physically unattractive rival compared with a physically attractive rival.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1158-1166
    Number of pages9
    JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov-1998
    EventMeeting of the Human-Behavior-and-Evolution-Society -
    Duration: 26-Jun-199630-Jun-1996


    • SELF
    • BEAUTY

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