Fantastic interview on Radio Boston of David Disteno at Northeastern University – who coincidentally just published a new book. His research is on what makes us jealous and what we do about it. The interview covers a lot of his work, so I will pick out one piece and give you the links to the book and the podcast if you want more.
One study involves getting unsuspecting volunteers to interact with very attractive confederates who are posing as other volunteers. After working together for a few minutes answering trivia questions a third person comes in. The attractive volunteer chooses to work with this “intruder” on the next part of the activity. Later, the spurned volunteer has to decide how much hot pepper to put in a sauce for a “blind taste test” for the other volunteer - the supposed purpose of the study. The way the study is put together is really devious. The results are just what you would think. Both male and female volunteers got back at their partner by putting a lot of extra hot pepper in the sauce. I am probably not doing justice to the study in this short post. I really recommend reading or listening to the whole thing.