Beyond Touching: Evolutionary Theory and Computer-Mediated Infidelity
Computer-mediation allows sexual relationships to exist despite geographical separation. The current study utilized evolutionary theory as a framework for understanding sex differences in perceptions of cyber-infidelity. A sample of 115 college students (46% male, age 18-42) were asked to rate their response to evidence of cyber-infidelity across four indices: jealously, infidelity, distress, and destructiveness. Based in evolutionary theory, it was hypothesized that female participants, as opposed to males, would be significantly more likely to categorize extra-dyadic computer-mediated behavior as infidelity, would report higher levels of distress and jealousy, and would rate the stimuli as significantly more destructive to the relationship. Findings supported the theoretical perspective but were limited. Although jealousy ratings yielded no significant sex differences, female participants were significantly more likely to characterize the evidence as an act of infidelity, report higher levels of distress in response to these behaviors, and rate these behaviors as more destructive to the intra-dyadic relationship. Consistent with an evolutionary explanation, these findings suggest that females are more likely than males to view extra-dyadic computer-mediated relationships as acts of emotional infidelity.
Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books.
Buss, D. M., Larsen, R. J., Westen, D., & Semmelroth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological Science, 3, 251– 255.
Charny, I. (1972). Marital love and hate. New York: Mac-Millan Company.
Collins, L. (1999). Emotional adultery: Cybersex and commitment. Social Theory and Practice, 25(2), 243–271.
Frame, R. (1997). Internet infidelity. Marriage Partnership, 14(4), 34-38.
Glass, S., & Wright, T. L. (1992). Justifications for extra- marital relationships: The association between attitudes, behaviors, and gender. Journal of Sex Research, 29(3), 361–388.
Johnson, R. E. (1970). Extramarital sexual intercourse: A methodological note. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 32(3), 449-456.
Lawson, A. (1988). Adultery: An analysis of love and betrayal. New York: Basic Books.
Maheu, M. M., & Subotnik, R. B. (2001). Infidelity on the Internet: Virtual relationships and real betrayal. Naperville: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Margonelli, L. (2000). Has the Internet stolen your mate? Health, 14(8), 88-91.
Merkle, E. R., & Richardson, R. A. (2000, April). Digital dating and virtual relating: Conceptualizing computer mediated romantic relationships. Family Relations, 49(2), 187-193.
Milhausen, R. R., & Herold, E. S. (1999). Does the sexual double standard still exist? Perceptions of university women. Journal of Sex Research, 36(4), 361-369.
Nannini, D. K., & Meyers, L. S. (2000). Jealousy in sexual and emotional infidelity: An alternative to the evolutionary explanation. Journal of Sex Research, 37(2), 117-122.
Neuman, G. M. (2001). Emotional infidelity: How to avoid it and 10 other secrets to a great marriage. New York: Crown Publishing.
Schneider, J. P. (2000). Effects of cybersex addiction on the family: Results of a survey. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 7(1), 31-58.
Thompson, A.P. (1984). Emotional and sexual components of extramarital relations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46, 35–42.
Weis, D. L., & Slosnerick, M. (1981). Attitudes toward sexual and nonsexual extramarital involvements among a sample of college students. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 43, 349–358.
Whitely, C. H., & Whitely, W. M. (1967). Sex & morals. New York: Basic Books, Inc.
- There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright (c) 2017 The New School Psychology Bulletin
© The New School Psychology Bulletin | email@example.com