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Our ancestors who had this ability were more successful in raising their offspring to maturity, so the adaptation got passed along to us."The researchers then asked each undergraduate to compose an essay on one of three subjects: the time they felt the most love for their current romantic partner, the time they felt the most sexual desire for their current romantic partner, or anything they wanted to write about.
The third group acted as a control group."Basically, these students were reliving an intense moment of love or an intense moment of sexual desire for their partner," said Gonzaga, who oversees an observational laboratory at e Harmony's Pasadena headquarters that conducts research in interpersonal chemistry and long-term relationship building.
While writing, the undergraduates were instructed to put the attractive other out of their mind.
In fact, conventional wisdom holds that when people are instructed to not think of something, a "rebound effect" occurs, causing the taboo thought to present itself even more frequently than it otherwise would.Later, they were asked to list the hottie's attributes.Undergraduates who reflected on the love they felt for their romantic partner were six times less likely than the control group, and more than four times less likely than the group that wrote about their sexual desire for their partner, to think of the hottie.Not only were the undergraduates in the love group less likely to think of the attractive others, but they had a much tougher time later recalling the hottie's appeal.On average, students from the love group remembered about two-thirds as many attractive features — such as bulging muscles or a low-cut blouse — as the students in the desire and control groups.
Research has also shown that when shown photos of attractive members of the opposite sex, people in romantic relationships tend to spend less time looking at the photos than noncommitted people."Earlier studies didn't examine whether love was driving the pattern," Haselton said.