The implicit cognition of relationship maintenance: Inattention to attractive alternatives

Jon K. Maner, Matthew T. Gailliot, Saul L. Miller

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  • 76 Citations

Abstract

The temptation of alternative mating partners can threaten satisfaction with and commitment to an existing romantic relationship. Consequently, people exhibit cognitive processes that help protect their relationship when faced with desirable relationship alternatives. Previous studies have focused primarily on processes that involve explicit, higher-order cognitive mechanisms such as overt judgments and choices (e.g., judging the alternative as less attractive). The current studies, in contrast, examined automatic, early-stage attentional processes that may help protect against threats posed by exposure to alternative mating partners. Whereas single participants responded to implicit mating primes by increasing early-stage attention to physically attractive opposite sex targets, participants in a committed romantic relationship were inattentive to those attractive alternatives. This research provides a novel approach for studying implicit cognitive mechanisms involved in maintaining close relationships.

LanguageEnglish
Pages174-179
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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Cognition
Research
cognition
commitment
threat

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Individual differences
  • Mating
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Romantic relationships
  • Social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

The implicit cognition of relationship maintenance : Inattention to attractive alternatives. / Maner, Jon K.; Gailliot, Matthew T.; Miller, Saul L.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 45, No. 1, 01.2009, p. 174-179.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Maner, Jon K. ; Gailliot, Matthew T. ; Miller, Saul L./ The implicit cognition of relationship maintenance : Inattention to attractive alternatives. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2009 ; Vol. 45, No. 1. pp. 174-179
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