Situations that limit a person’s attention to attractive alternatives — even when that limit is unconscious — lead those alternatives to taken on a desirable “forbidden fruit” quality.Put with the existing research literature on this subject, the researchers suggest that when inattention to attractive alternatives is motivated, it leads to positive relationship processes.A long-term, stable romantic relationship with a committed, caring partner has many psychological benefits, which we know from the oodles of psychological research published about them.So it’s a good thing to try and protect one’s relationship from external influences.(Or perhaps we have it, but with serious consequences.)This hypothesis is consistent with another psychological theory called the “ironic process model.” This model suggests that suppressing thoughts about something will lead that thing to become even more salient.The more we try and not to think about something, the more we think about it.
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There’s something in human nature that wants what it can’t have.The task was simple — press the letter E or F on the keyboard when they appeared on the screen, replacing one of the two photographs shown on the screen.One photograph was of an attractive person, the other of an average-looking person.The results of this first experiment supported the researchers’ hypothesis.