Washington, March 20 : The feeling of love towards a romantic partner can actually suppress thoughts and ideas about attractive alternative mates, thus leading to greater commitment, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown that love surpasses sexual desire, and thus predicts greater commitment to the current partner.
Many experts have theorized that love plays a causal role in maintaining bonds and relationships. However, no work to date has tested this hypothesis directly.
But now, University of California, Los Angeles, research team has shown that the feeling of love for a romantic partner could actually aid in suppressing thoughts of attractive alternative mates.
In the study, researchers used a relived emotion task to provoke love or sexual desire for a romantic partner and asked participants to repress thoughts of an attractive alternative.
The researchers found that after suppression, participants in the love condition displayed fewer thoughts of the attractive alternative and exactly recalled fewer attractiveness-related details about the alternative than those in the desire condition.
The team says that reports of love, but not sexual desire, predicted greater commitment to the current partner during the study.
They add that their results suggest that love serves a function distinct from desire and that love can operate as a commitment device.