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Gender Differences in Guilt

Examines studies on sex differences in jealousy as a precursor to guilt, and then explores guilt.
by

Andrey Frenkel

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Gender Differences in Guilt

Gender Differences in Guilt due to Infidelity Andrey Frenkel Types of Infidelity
Emotional
Sexual Studies on Infidelity have mostly examined
the feeling of jealousy
Findings:
Males get more jealous over sexual infidelity
and females get more jealous over emotional
infidelity WHY??? It has become adaptive Jealousy is obviously not the only emotion
experienced as a by-product of an adulterous
act.
Guilt, as it relates to infidelity, is starting to
get more attention, but what exactly is it? The incidence of infidelity has been increasing
over the past few decades with an estimated 25%
of people in relationsships reporting they have been involved in at least one extra-marital affair. However, males and females do not view their
behavior similarily. “ the fact of having committed a breach of
conduct especially violating law and involving
a penalty; the state of one who has committed
an offense especially consciously.” interpersonal phenomenon that allows the perpetrator to see the distress they have brought onto their peers, and reduces the likelihood that the act will be repeated as well as possible employment of reparative behavior (Fisher, Voracek, Rekkas, & Cox, 2008) Previous Findings on Guilt
What he or she does not know won't hurt them (Mongeau & Schulz, 1997)
Low motivation to maintain a relationship resulted correlated with feeling less guilty about their adulterous act (Mongeau & Schulz, 1997)
Intentional acts of infidelity produce less guilt as well (Mongeau, Hale, & Alles, 1994)
Acts of revenge were associated with less feelings of guilt (Mongeau, Hale, & Alles, 1994) AND....

OVERALL, Females feel guiltier than males In the current study Fisher et al. (2008) predicted that men would feel guiltier following an emotional infidelity and women would feel guiltier following a sexual infidelity. For the experiment, researchers used Buss et al.'s Sexual Jealousy Scale, and replaced the word jealousy with guilt.
Participants were asked to imagine different scenarios in which they were involved in either sexual or emotional infidelity and then they were given a questionnaire. RESULTS
Women felt guiltier following imagined emotional infidelity and men felt guiltier following imagined sexual infidelity
Women thought that their sexual infidelity would more likely to lead to a break up than emotional infidelity
Males and females reported that infidelity of any sort would make them feel some level of guilt
Both sexes said their partner would have a harder time forgiving sexual infidelity Explanation #1
Men probably experience the most guilt from sexual infidelity because they believe their partner finds sexual fidelity to be as important they do and vice versa (Fisher et al., 2008). Explanation #2
Historically males view their relationships as more sexual than emotional, and thus when they are involved in another sexual affair, they feel that the biggest component of their relationship has been rattled. Women, on the other hand, view their relationships as more emotional than sexual, so when they get involved emotionally with a third party, they feel as if the major component of their relationship has been jeopardized (Fisher et al., 2008). Explanation #3
Intra-sexual competition: Males are aware that other males feel the most distressed by sexual infidelity, and thus feel the most guilt after sexual infidelity in hopes to lessen the competing male’s desire for revenge (Fisher et al., 2008) Explanation #4
Low mating intelligence in a particular domain: The inability of men to understand that women are most disturbed by emotional infidelity causes them to believe that all people regardless of gender share their view on what is most distressing, causing them to feel guilty over sexual infidelity. The same applies to women and their lack of understanding of the male perspective. According to this perspective, men and women are feeling guilty in the wrong scenarios, which indicates low mating intelligence (Fisher et al., 2008). Limitations
Examined guilt as it relates to imagined acts of infidelity
Only a small population in Toronto was studied Future Direction
Assess guilt based on mate value
Explore guilt across different age groups
Guilt as it relates to length of marriage In conclusion, guilt is a very important human emotion as it allows us to
understand when we have done
something wrong to someone else.
Without it, we would be leading lives with
no morals. References
Fisher, M., Voracek, M., Rekkas, P. V., Cox, A. (2008). Sex Differences in Feelings of Guilt Arising from Infidelity. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(3), 436-446.
Mongeau, P. A., Hale, J. L., Alles, M. (1994). An Experimental Investigation of Accounts and Attributions Following Sexual Infidelity. Communication Monographs, 61, 326-344. Mongeau, P. A., Schulz, B. E. (1997).
What He Doesn’t Know Won’t Hurt Him (or Me):Verbal Responses and Attributions Following Sexual Infidelity. Communication Reports, 10(2), 143-152.
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