Human Nature 7 (3):291-321 (1996)

This work tests two conflicting views about double standards: whether they reflect evolved sex differences in behavior or a manipulative morality serving male interests. Two questionnaires on jealous reactions to mild (flirting) and serious (cheating) sexual transgressions were randomly assigned to 172 young women and men. One questionnaire assessed standards for appropriate behavior and perceptions of how young women and men usually react. The second asked people to report how they had reacted or, if naive, how they would react. The questions concerned anger at and blame of partner and rival and the self-oriented responses of loss of self-esteem, feelings of hurt, and fear of losing the partner. As predicted by the idea of manipulative morality, both sexes advanced sets of double standards that serve the interests of their own sex at the expense of the opposite sex. Much of the data contradict the idea of a match between double standards and evolved sex differences. First, subjects who set self-serving double standards did not perceive gender differences in jealous reactions. Second, there were few gender differences in judgments regarding jealous responses. Third, in contrast with the familiar double standard, women were more aggressively reactive to a flirting rival than men. Fourth, self-reports of the strength of aggressive jealous reactions suggest that women’s behavior is stronger than the prescriptions for it. These data suggest that double standards represent a communication strategy which assists men’s control of women. The data on jealous reactions were interpreted in terms of the degree of threat to fitness posed by infidelity in different situations
Keywords Aggressive motivation  Double standards  Gender differences  Morality  Person perception  Sexual jealousy
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DOI 10.1007/BF02733399
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References found in this work BETA

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.Edward O. Wilson - 1975 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.
Social Theory and Social Structure.Lawrence Haworth - 1961 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (44):345-346.
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.Edward O. Wilson - 1975 - Harvard University Press.

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Raising Darwin’s Consciousness.Sarah Blaffer Hrdy - 1997 - Human Nature 8 (1):1-49.

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