Magazine article Psychology Today

Eyes off the Prize

Magazine article Psychology Today

Eyes off the Prize

Article excerpt

ENTERING INTO A committed relationship doesn't mean you start wearing blinders: You're bound to encounter as many attractive single people as ever. You might, however, be less impressed by them. A recent paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that people in relationships unconsciously downplay the appeal of potentially tempting strangers.

In two studies by Rutgers University psychologist Shana Cole and colleagues, heterosexual participants learned about an opposite-sex individual whom they were supposedly going to meet, viewing a photograph of the person and, among other details, his or her relationship status. Soon after, the subjects were shown the person's photo again and asked to find its match in an array of u different versions of it-io of which had been altered to make the individual appear either more or less attractive.

When the person in the photo was said to be single or looking to date, participants who were already in relationships tended to pick a less-attractive image of that personevidence that they perceived him or her less flatteringly. …

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