Jealousy is nothing to take lightly. Experts say it’s the leading reason behind couple homicides. And it’s responsible for ending countless relationships. In fact, jealousy is such a complicated emotion that we’re still figuring out the mental processes behind it. But here’s what we do know:
First: Jealousy hurts. Neuroimaging experts says jealousy activates the anterior cingulate cortex. That’s the part of the brain which allows us to feel physical pain.
Jealousy fact #2: Men and women experience it differently. A study published in the journal NeuroImage shows that jealousy activates the brain’s aggression center in men. In women, it fires up the areas responsible for developing trust. That’s why women are more likely to feel jealous in situations that aren’t romantic - like when their BFF cancels lunch to meet a new beau.
Now this last one is important: Jealousy literally makes us crazy. University of Texas psychologist David Buss says that when we’re threatened, we develop something called cognitive bias. In laymen’s terms, that’s the inability to tell what’s true and what’s false. To give you an idea of how out of synch we can get, a University of Delaware study showed that people who believed their partners were checking out someone else, couldn’t decode visual signals. In other words, they were so jealous they couldn’t see straight.