Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hey, good looking!

PracticalMan takes it in his stride when I eye up French chef Manu Feildel. In fact, he finds it rather funny  (and occasionally beneficial) that I have developed a sudden interest in French cooking. Similarly, I don' t blink an eyelid when he rushes to watch anything involving former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins, although there's no apparent benefit for me there. 'Chacun a son gout ' as Manu would say in his gorgeous French accent. Let's face it, he could be saying 'Your drains need cleaning' and it would still sound fabulous.

Well, it seems we may be on to something according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  While you might reasonably expect that a wandering eye would be detrimental to a relationship, trying to rein in that eye might actually be more destructive to a relationship. Based on the concept of 'forbidden fruit', of wanting what you can't have,  trying to limit that wandering eye has a three fold effect in that it reduces satisfaction with and commitment to a relationship whilst increasing memory and attention for attractive relationship alternatives. So, the more I'm not allowed to indulge my newly found passion for 'French cooking' *wink wink*, the more I'm going to think about it, to want to and the more 'ticked off' I'm going to be with PracticalMan when I can't.

Important things to note about the study that may limit these findings are that (1) there was no French chef involved (2) most of the participants were undergraduates and so in early stages of relationships and (3) there was no followup to see if relationships were in fact impacted.

Of course, PracticalMan is sensible. He knows Manu is no threat and, more importantly, he knows which side his brioche is buttered.

For more on the study, see the reference below.


DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., Deckman, T, & Rouby, D. A. (2011). Forbidden fruit: Inattention to attactive alternatives provokes implicit relationship reactance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 621-629.

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