Evolution of Jealousy Romantic jealousy has inspired poetry, drama and.

Evolution of Jealousy Romantic jealousy has inspired poetry, drama and… murder. But what’s the science behind jealousy?

• Two decades ago, jealousy was considered a pathological state, a social consequence of a capitalistic society.

• Evolutionary psychologists now believe that jealousy evolved as an important survival adaptation, going way back to the Pleistocene epoch.

• David Buss argues for an emotional cognitive module with innate gender differences: men are more prone to sexual jealousy while women respond more strongly to emotional jealousy.

• Apparently, early man faced a serious Darwinian threat of cuckoldry..if he wasn’t sure that he was the baby daddy, he ran the risk of expending scarce resources on propagating another man’s genes. Women on the other hand, worried that their mate might philander resources on another woman (and her children)..hence an innate wiring for emotional jealousy.

• Newer explanations suggest that differences are more personal..individuals who prize their autonomy over commitment are likely to feel sexual jealousy, whereas others who are more securely attached in relationships (including men) are susceptible to emotional jealousy.

• All this may be moot, since jealousy arises in babies, long before thoughts of romance! Sibling rivalry, anyone?

• Yeah, this was basically an excuse for me to post Jealous Guy. 🙂 Enjoy!

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26 Responses to Evolution of Jealousy Romantic jealousy has inspired poetry, drama and.


  1. Excuse or not that was a great post Rajini Rao …smile and now I am listening to Lennon 🙂

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Kershaw Rustomji, I’m neither jealous nor a guy, but I had to post that song, it is so typically Lennon..touching and funny at the same time 🙂


  3. Rajini Rao And with all that you write …am getting motivated to read more again 🙂 had lost that somewhere

  4. Rajini Rao says:


    Cheryl Ann Fillekes , interesting…although “conspicuous consumption” or “keeping up with the Joneses” has more to do with greed and jealousy of a non-romantic kind. Happily, Lennon imagined a world with no possessions 🙂


  5. Lennon perhaps went through a process of relinquishing his need for processions…also influenced by the time in which he lived and was at his peak..and that song “imagine” is probably a reflection of what he longed for

  6. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, a new term for the Faux channel, thanks! Sadly, I did glimpse that connection to domination and control in my brief search on Veblen..very dark 😦

  7. Paul Melrose says:


    Kershaw Rustomji – I was always struck by the irony that Lennon performed Imagine (in the iconic video), on a grand piano in a mansion.

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    But, Paul Melrose , the mansion was empty of all other possessions!

  9. Paul Melrose says:


    I’ve a general question if I may:


    I’m reading abut Argumentative Theory (link below) at the moment, which was very much informed by evolutionary psychology. Is there a discernible trend in psychology that is seeing emotion and evolution playing much more of a role in how we think about human behaviour and cognitive processes? I’m asking as someone who is no longer in an academic loop and is trying to gauge what’s happening now. (As an undergraduate student I was amazed by how little both figured.) Thanks.


    (Argumentative Theory article link: http://www.dan.sperber.fr/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/MercierSperberWhydohumansreason.pdf)

  10. Paul Melrose says:


    Rajini Rao – this is very true. But then he and Yoko bought two floors of the Dakota building


    When I was a kid all I wanted to be was a Beatle. Told everyone. Like many, Lennon was my favourite, but I made the mistake of reading everything I could about him. Won’t do that again 😦

  11. Rajini Rao says:


    Paul Melrose so true! Nobody deserves to be made a hero, frankly. We all have feet of clay.


  12. Lennon’s circle of influence might have limited the process of his shedding processions and also his peers..while parents do influence ones thinking I think in Lennon’s mind it was the period in which he lived which means his environment and the events taking place around him which seems to have most influenced his thinking and his quest for what he “imagined” ..perhaps something akin to “The Pygmalion effect” ? The question is would he have emptied his mansion if he lived in a different time

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    Hi Maria Luisa A , you are right..sibling rivalry is rooted in competition for food/care and it is seen in all sorts of animals. For example, black eagles have 2 hatchlings and it is common, from what I have read, for the elder chick to push the younger out of the nest to ensure the best for itself. Oh, by the way, I haven’t studied anthropology or sociobiology either, so my guesses are as good as yours! Lovely song, isn’t it? Almost wants me to wish for some jealous guy to sing it to me 🙂

  14. Rajini Rao says:


    Awwww, yes! Guaranteed to melt a woman’s heart 🙂

  15. Paul Melrose says:


    I’m taking notes here, carry on.

  16. Rajini Rao says:


    LOL, Paul Melrose , you are now armed and dangerous. Watch out, women..


  17. LOL i am enjoying the “environment” i live in 😀 …

  18. Paul Melrose says:


    Rajini Rao – just let me get this straight: Be horrible, make my wife cry, and then use the line? Can’t believe it’s that simple. Excellent!

  19. Rajini Rao says:


    Paul Melrose , haha, you got it..works on me (hope your wife is a softie like me).

  20. Paul Melrose says:


    Rajini Rao – I’ll let you know!

  21. Tom Lee says:


    Rajini Rao Haven’t heard this Lennon number before. Of course Lennon always sounds like Lennon. The guitar sound, his piano playing style make him an exceptional artist. Many considered him as the soul of the Beatles. In my view he is also the Beatles’ unofficial philosopher. Thanks for directing me to this post. 🙂

  22. Rajini Rao says:


    Hey, Tom Lee , this was always one of my faves..glad that you’ve heard it now! 🙂


  23. Awe man… I really like this thanks!


    Kinda makes me sad to see him again… but you know what they say; “The star that burns twice as bright, burns half as long”.

  24. Rajini Rao says:


    Hmm, all those white pants..reminds me of the MDs at work 🙂 That Bryan Ferry does look like a Hopkins Doc, lol. I thank you, Feisal Kamil , but I like Lennon better. Gilmour’s guitar was great!

  25. Rajini Rao says:


    Those smooth talking Docs, lol. I know one with exactly the same hair. He treated the late Christopher Reeve.

  26. Satyr Icon says:


    Interesting. And yet there are so many men (paired and unpaired) who fantasise about being cuckolded.


    I guess there is a huge difference between fantasy, which fuels arousal (from the simple theory of sperm competition), and actually being duped by your partner, perhaps humiliated by being the last to know in the community.


    And those (very few?) who do practice it, for the recreational aspect, knowingly and willingly, I guess there’s very little ‘cheating’ there so doesn’t fit the dictionary definition of cuckoldry. More like where the male is a wittol.


    From what I have read, this was acceptable in some form or another. For example, some North African people, despite their high religiousness have a longer history of cuckoldry practice than the assimilation into the religion.


    Evolutionary cuckolding probably has an advantage to the species, so long as the acquiescent or ‘bested’ male has some advantage too. More common in other species too, including swans, bower bird (everybody knows that), bonobos, etc.

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