Here is an experiment that might interest you
although it's not related to polyamory per se. Psycologists asked men and women which situation would bother them the most, if their significant other was falling in love with some one else, or if they had sex with someone else. More men than women said they would be more upset if their partner had sex with someone else. More women than men said they would be more upset if their partner fell in love with someone else. Which seemed to prove the common sterotype that women are more love-oriented, and men care more about the physical aspect.
But there are two problems with psychological experiments that ask people to self report:
1) People consciously or subconsciously may not be telling the truth. For example women may believe they should, or society expects them to, care more about love and feelings than sex, and answer the question in way that reflects that idealized version of themself, or what they think society feels is normal or right. And guys may feel its unmanly to care about more about love than sex.
2) The second problem with self reporting is something the researchers called inference. For example, a woman might infer that if her partner was in love with someone else, chances are they would be having sex as well, and perhaps it is really the sexual infidelity that is most disturbing to her. Or the man might infer that if his partner was having sex with someone else, she must be in love with him as well, because he assumes that his partner or women in general just wouldnt have casual or meaningless sex like men do.
So the researchers re-designed the experiment. They told the subjects they were actually conducting an experiment about memory. They asked the men and women to memorize an 8 digit number, and said they would be asked to recite it back at some point during the experiment, after being asked some other "unrelated" question (which was actaully the question described above) The idea behind this approach, is that when a person's brain is preoccupied with another mental task, it will interfere with other thought processes like considering social norms or drawing inferences, and the "truth" will come out.
In the second experiment, the difference between the men and womens answers almost completely diasppeared. The percentage of men reporting they would be more upset by emotional infidelity increased, and the percentage of women reporting they would be more bothered by physical infidelity increased. A higher percentage of both men and women reported that they would be more upset by physical infidelity than emotional infidelity. (I can't remember the exact number- I think it was around 60-65%.)
I just thought this was interesting.
Last edited by cheryl; 11-09-2011 at 01:43 PM.