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The Jealousy Experiment

What if someone played this trick on you:

Researchers set things up so that two people — a woman and a man — were asked to work on a problem-solving task. The guy acted all charming and flirtatious … but when another female participant arrived, 10 minutes late, he lost all interest in the first woman and focused almost entirely on the second. After about 10 minutes of that, the person in charge interrupted the trio, informing them that there could be only two people in each group. The male turned immediately to the latecomer and said, “Want to work together?”

Now, of course, the male was in cahoots with the psychologists in charge. Everything he did was pre-arranged. He was supposed to flirt with the first lady, then pretend to lose all interest when the second arrived.

When the first woman got dropped, what did she do? In many cases, her face literally dropped. Other times, she let out a gasp. Or she said nasty, scolding things to the other two. In other words, she got extremely jealous … of a man she’d only spent a few minutes with, whose interest in her wasn’t even real.

The only way this could be better is if notes fell from both the man and the second woman’s pockets, and when you went to pick them up you saw they were covered in detailed descriptions of your physical flaws. But no, it was all done in the name of science, and the researchers’ theory that it would suck to have this happen to you was proven accurate.


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