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Executive Control Helps Romantically Involved Individuals Stay Faithful

Essay by   •  May 9, 2011  •  Essay  •  864 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,106 Views

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A study was conducted to determine whether there were any correlating factors between individuals' 'executive control', and their loyalty in a committed relationship. Executive control is described as basically the discipline an individual has when completing a goal oriented task. Extensive studies were performed on both genders, each measuring different aspects of subjects level of 'executive control' when completing tasks that required a considerate amount of focus.

In the first test, the subjects were placed in front of monitors, then, series of words flashed before them. When the words appeared in white text, the subjects were directed to distinguish words based on positive or negative connotations. They were directed to press a designated key on the right side of the keyboard for negative words, i.e sadness, and a designated key on the left side for words with positive undertones. If the words presented themselves in green, or blue, they were directed to press designated keys on the left or righthand side of the keyboard acknowledging only the color. Timing and accuracy were measured when the subjects completed these assignments. After twenty rounds of this 'executive control' task, subjects were given a questionnaire asking them to self report concerning their difficulty remaining faithful to romantic partners.

A correlation was observed in subjects who self reported having difficulty remaining faithful to their partners, and those who had delayed reaction times to responses on the east side of the keyboard. There was no significant variation between male and female subjects regarding their difficulty staying faithful, or of their task scores. This study showed that there is indeed a correlation between subjects' executive control, and their perceived difficulty remaining faithful to their romantic partners.

A second study was performed observing only heterosexual males in committed relationships. A similar 'executive control' task was performed, followed by a deliberate period of time in a waiting room with a female associate, chosen for her degree of attractiveness. This subject was instructed to act as though her presence in the waiting room was fortuitous, and to treat the male subject cordially, but not overly flirtatious.

After the brief acquaintance with the female associate, each male subject was asked to rate the attractiveness of the female on a Likert scale. The female subjects were shown a five minute clip of the interaction, and asked to rate the degree of flirtation she had experienced by calculating their level of agreement with specific statements, i.e. "this participant was flirting with me", or "this participant wanted more from me". The female's appeal to the male subject was also factored into the equation due to the unconscious influence it would have on her behavior toward him.

It was concluded that

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