Jealousy is an emotion, and the word typically refers to the thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust. In its original meaning, jealousy is distinct from envy, though the two terms have popularly become synonymous in the English language, with jealousy now also taking on the definition originally used for envy alone. Jealousy is a typical experience in human relationships. It has been observed in infants five months and older. Some claim that jealousy is seen in every culture; however, others claim jealousy is a culture-specific phenomenon.
- Sexual jealousy
- Gender based differences
- In non human animals
- Scientific definitions
- Comparison with envy
- In psychology
- In sociology
- In fiction, film, and art
- In religion
Jealousy can either be suspicious or reactive.
Jealousy is often reinforced as a series of particularly strong emotions and constructed as a universal human experience; it has been a theme of many artistic works. Psychologists have proposed several models of the processes underlying jealousy and have identified factors that result in jealousy. Sociologists have demonstrated that cultural beliefs and values play an important role in determining what triggers jealousy and what constitutes socially acceptable expressions of jealousy. Biologists have identified factors that may unconsciously influence the expression of jealousy. Artists have explored the theme of jealousy in photographs, paintings, films, songs, plays, poems, and books. Theologians have offered religious views of jealousy based on the scriptures of their respective faiths.
Sexual jealousy may be triggered when a person's significant other displays sexual interest in another person. The feeling of jealousy may be just as powerful if one partner suspects the other is guilty of infidelity. Fearing that their partner will experience sexual jealousy the person who has been unfaithful may lie about their actions in order to protect their partner. Experts often believe that sexual jealousy is in fact a biological imperative. It may be part of a mechanism by which humans and other animals ensure access to the best reproductive partners.
It seems that male jealousy in heterosexual relationships may be influenced by their female partner's phase in her menstrual cycle. In the period around and shortly before ovulation, males are found to display more mate-retention tactics, which are linked to jealousy (Burriss & Little, 2006). Furthermore, a male is more likely to employ mate-retention tactics if their partner shows more interest in other males, which is more likely to occur in the pre-ovulation phase (Gangestad, Thornhill & Garver, 2002.)
According to the Parental Investment Model based on parental investment theory, more men than women ratify sex differences in jealousy. In addition, more women over men consider emotional infidelity (fear of abandonment) as more distressing than sexual infidelity. According to the attachment theory, sex and attachment style makes significant and unique interactive contributions to the distress experienced. Security within the relationship also heavily contributes to one’s level of distress. These findings imply that psychological and cultural mechanisms regarding sex differences may play a larger role than expected (Levy,Blatt, Schachner.) The attachment theory also claims to reveal how infants attachment patterns are the basis for self-report measures of adult attachment. (Levy, Blatt & Shaner, 1998). Although there are no sex differences in childhood attachment, individuals with dismissing behavior was more concerned with the sexual aspect of relationships (Schachner & shaer, 2004). As a coping mechanism these individuals would report sexual infidelity as more harmful. Moreover, research shows that audit attachment styles strongly conclude with the type of infidelity that occurred. Thus psychological and cultural mechanisms are implied as unvarying differences in jealousy that play a role in sexual attachment.
Emotional jealousy was predicted to be nine times more responsive in females than in males. The emotional jealousy predicted in females also held turn to state that females experiencing emotional jealousy are more violent than men experiencing emotional jealousy.
There are distinct emotional responses to gender differences in romantic relationships (Buss, Green & Saboni 2004). For example, due to paternity uncertainty in males, jealousy increases in males over sexual infidelity rather than emotional. According to research more women are likely to be upset by signs of resource withdraw (i.e. another female) than by sexual infidelity. A large amount of data supports this notion. However, one must consider for jealousy the life stage or experience one encounters in reference to the diverse responses to infidelity available. Research states that a componential view of jealousy consist of specific set of emotions that serve the reproductive role. However, research shows that both men and women would be equally angry and point the blame for sexual infidelity, but women would be more hurt by emotional infidelity. Despite this fact, anger surfaces when both parties involved is responsible for some type of uncontrollable behavior, sexual conduct is not exempt. (Sabbini and Silver, Averill 1995). Some behavior and actions are controllable such as sexual behavior. However hurt feelings are activated by relationship deviation. No evidence is known to be sexually dimorphic in both college and adult convenience samples. The Jealousy Specific Innate Model (JSIM) proved to not be innate, but may be sensitive to situational factors. As a result, it may only activate at stages in on. One study discovered serious relationships are reserved for older adults rather than undergraduates. For example, Buss et al. (1992) predicted that male jealousy decreases as females reproductive values decreases.
A second possibility that the JSIM effect is not innate but is from one culture (Desieno et al., 2002) Kitayana (2004) have highlighted differences in socio-economic status specific such as the divide between high school and collegiate individuals. Moreover, individuals of both genders were angrier and blamed their partners more for sexual infidelities but were more hurt by emotional (Sabini & Green 2004). Jealousy is composed of lower-level emotional states (e.g., anger and hurt) which may be triggered by a variety of events, not by differences in individuals' life stage. Although research has recognized the importance of early childhood experiences for the development of competence in intimate relationships, early family environment is recently being examined as well (Richardson and Guyer, 1998). Research on self-esteem and attachment theory suggest that individuals internalize early experiences within the family which subconsciously translates into their personal view of worth of themselves and the value of being close to other individuals, especially in an interpersonal relationship (Steinberg, Davila, & Fincham, 2006).
In non-human animals
A study by researches at the University of California, San Diego, replicated jealousy studies done on humans on canines. They reported, in a paper published in PLOS ONE in 2014, that a significant number of dogs exhibited jealous behaviors when their human companions paid attention to dog-like toys, compared to when their human companions paid attention to nonsocial objects.
The word stems from the French jalousie, formed from jaloux (jealous), and further from Low Latin zelosus (full of zeal), in turn from the Greek word ζήλος (zēlos), sometimes "jealousy", but more often in a positive sense "emulation, ardour, zeal" (with a root connoting "to boil, ferment"; or "yeast").
Since William Shakespeare's use of terms like "green-eyed monster", the color green has been associated with jealousy and envy, from which the expressions "green with envy", are derived.
People do not express jealousy through a single emotion or a single behavior. They instead express jealousy through diverse emotions and behaviors, which makes it difficult to form a scientific definition of jealousy. Scientists instead define jealousy in their own words, as illustrated by the following examples:
These definitions of jealousy share two basic themes. First, all the definitions imply a triad composed of a jealous individual, a partner, and a perception of a third party or rival. Second, all the definitions describe jealousy as a reaction to a perceived threat to the relationship between two people, or a dyad. Jealous reactions typically involve aversive emotions and/or behaviors that are assumed to be protective for their attachment relationships. These themes form the essential meaning of jealousy in most scientific studies.
Comparison with envy
Popular culture uses the word jealousy as a synonym for envy. Many dictionary definitions include a reference to envy or envious feelings. In fact, the overlapping use of jealousy and envy has a long history.
The terms are used indiscriminately in such popular 'feelgood' books as Nancy Friday's Jealousy, where the expression 'jealousy' applies to a broad range of passions, from envy to lust and greed. While this kind of usage blurs the boundaries between categories that are intellectually valuable and psychologically justifiable, such confusion is understandable in that historical explorations of the term indicate that these boundaries have long posed problems. Margot Grzywacz's fascinating etymological survey of the word in Romance and Germanic languages asserts, indeed, that the concept was one of those that proved to be the most difficult to express in language and was therefore among the last to find an unambiguous term. Classical Latin used invidia, without strictly differentiating between envy and jealousy. It was not until the postclassical era that Latin borrowed the late and poetic Greek word zelotypia and the associated adjective zelosus. It is from this adjective that are derived French jaloux, Provençal gelos, Italian geloso, and Spanish celoso. (Lloyd, 1995, page 4)
Perhaps the overlapping use of jealousy and envy occurs because people can experience both at the same time. A person may envy the characteristics or possessions of someone who also happens to be a romantic rival. In fact, one may even interpret romantic jealousy as a form of envy. A jealous person may envy the affection that his or her partner gives to a rival — affection the jealous person feels entitled to himself or herself. People often use the word jealousy as a broad label that applies to both experiences of jealousy and experiences of envy.
Although popular culture often uses jealousy and envy as synonyms, modern philosophers and psychologists have argued for conceptual distinctions between jealousy and envy. For example, philosopher John Rawls distinguishes between jealousy and envy on the ground that jealousy involves the wish to keep what one has, and envy the wish to get what one does not have. Thus, a child is jealous of her parents' attention to a sibling, but envious of her friend's new bicycle. Psychologists Laura Guerrero and Peter Andersen have proposed the same distinction. They claim the jealous person "perceives that he or she possesses a valued relationship, but is in danger of losing it or at least of having it altered in an undesirable manner," whereas the envious person "does not possess a valued commodity, but wishes to possess it." Gerrod Parrott draws attention to the distinct thoughts and feelings that occur in jealousy and envy.
The common experience of jealousy for many people may involve:
The experience of envy involves:
Parrot acknowledges that people can experience envy and jealousy at the same time. Feelings of envy about a rival can even intensify the experience of jealousy. Still, the differences between envy and jealousy in terms of thoughts and feelings justify their distinction in philosophy and science.
Jealousy involves an entire "emotional episode," including a complex "narrative": the circumstances that lead up to jealousy, jealousy itself as emotion, any attempt at self regulation, subsequent actions and events and the resolution of the episode (Parrott, 2001, p. 306). The narrative can originate from experienced facts, thoughts, perceptions, memories, but also imagination, guess and assumptions. The more society and culture matter in the formation of these factors, the more jealousy can have a social and cultural origin. By contrast, Goldie (2000, p. 228) shows how jealousy can be a "cognitively impenetrable state", where education and rational belief matter very little.
One possible explanation of the origin of jealousy in evolutionary psychology is that the emotion evolved in order to maximize the success of our genes: it is a biologically based emotion (Prinz after Buss and Larsen, 2004, p. 120) selected to foster the certainty about the paternity of one’s own offspring. A jealous behavior, in men, is directed into avoiding sexual betrayal and a consequent waste of resources and effort in taking care of someone else’s offspring. There are, additionally, cultural or social explanations of the origin of jealousy. According to one, the narrative from which jealousy arises can be in great part made by the imagination. Imagination is strongly affected by a person's cultural milieu. The pattern of reasoning, the way one perceives situations, depends strongly on cultural context. It has elsewhere been suggested that jealousy is in fact a secondary emotion in reaction to one's needs not being met, be those needs for attachment, attention, reassurance or any other form of care that would be otherwise expected to arise from that primary romantic relationship.
While mainstream psychology considers sexual arousal through jealousy a paraphilia, some authors on sexuality (Serge Kreutz, Instrumental Jealousy) have argued that jealousy in manageable dimensions can have a definite positive effect on sexual function and sexual satisfaction. Studies have also shown that jealousy sometimes heightens passion towards partners and increases the intensity of passionate sex.
Jealousy in children and teenagers has been observed more often in those with low self-esteem and can evoke aggressive reactions. One such study suggested that developing intimate friends can be followed by emotional insecurity and loneliness in some children when those intimate friends interact with others. Jealousy is linked to aggression and low self-esteem. Research by Sybil Hart, Ph.D., at Texas Tech University indicates that children are capable of feeling and displaying jealousy at as young as six months. Infants showed signs of distress when their mothers focused their attention on a lifelike doll. This research could explain why children and infants show distress when a sibling is born, creating the foundation for sibling rivalry.
Anthropologists have claimed that jealousy varies across cultures. Cultural learning can influence the situations that trigger jealousy and the manner in which jealousy is expressed. Attitudes toward jealousy can also change within a culture over time. For example, attitudes toward jealousy changed substantially during the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. People in the United States adopted much more negative views about jealousy.
In fiction, film, and art
Artistic depictions of jealousy occur in fiction, films, and other art forms such as painting and sculpture. Jealousy is a common theme in literature, art, theatre, and film.
Jealousy in religion examines how the scriptures and teachings of various religions deal with the topic of jealousy. Religions may be compared and contrasted on how they deal with two issues: concepts of divine jealousy, and rules about the provocation and expression of human jealousy.
The Christian New Testament records that the Jewish chief priests and elders had handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified because they were jealous of his popularity.