A new study suggests that jealousy can prompt people to change how they view themselves relative to competitors for their partners' attention.
Previous research has shown that individuals often will change their self-views to be more similar to someone to whom they want to get closer, such as a romantic partner.
"However, a rival isn't someone that individuals should like, let alone want to affiliate with," Erica Slotter of Villanova University, said.
"This work was really novel in that we were looking at whether individuals would be willing to shift their self-views to be more similar to a romantic rival," she said.
Across the studies, Slotter and colleagues tested what happens to people when in a jealous state.
They predicted that individuals would only change their self-views if they thought their partner was interested in someone else.
"This meant that individuals should not change their self-views if someone flirts with their partner, but the partner doesn't respond with interest," Slotter said.
The findings are published online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.