Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Bogdan Kostic


evolutionary psychology, memory, adaptive memory, jealousy, sex differences

Subject Categories



Men and women are subject to different evolutionary pressures in terms of reproduction. One way in which this disparity manifests is through sex differences in susceptibility to sexual or emotional jealousy. Previous research has found consistent sex differences in the self-reported emotional reactions of men and women. The present study combines this paradigm with an adaptive memory approach, positing that because memory evolved to solve adaptive problems, it might be sensitive to information processed in adaptive ways. The present study examines whether memory is sensitive to the kinds of mating pressures that elicit sex differences in jealousy. Participants (n = 94) rated words according to their predictive value for sexual or emotional infidelity. It was hypothesized that men would remember more sexual cues than women, and women would remember more emotional cues than men. No statistically significant differences were found; due to floor effects in the recall data, the results neither support nor undermine the idea that memory may be tuned for sex-specific jealousy cues.


© Cory J. Derringer

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