Problem: It’s hard to remember that other peoples’ successes do not diminish your own, to choke down the bile of jealousy that rises in your throat whenever anyone in your peripheral vision is doing a better job of being a person than you are. But you’d think you could swallow the evil green demon that lives inside your unhappy heart long enough to muster up a little genuine pleasure when the person succeeding is your partner, whom you claim to love. Or, at least not let it make you think worse of yourself. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tested that ability in men and women.
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Methodology: Researchers studied a total of 896 people in heterosexual relationships over the course of five experiments, testing the theory that men’s implicit self-esteem would be affected more by the success of their partners than women’s would.
In the first experiment, participants completed a social intelligence test and then were told their partners performed either in the top or bottom 12 percent. They didn’t find out their own scores. Then they measured their own self-esteem, both implicit and explicit—the test for implicit, or subconscious, self-esteem involved measuring how quickly they associated positive or negative words with the word “me.”