Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1210–1220 | Cite as

Implicit attitudes and executive control interact to regulate interest in extra-pair relationships

  • Ryuhei Ueda
  • Kuniaki Yanagisawa
  • Hiroshi Ashida
  • Nobuhito Abe


Do we actively maintain monogamous relationships by force of will, or does monogamy flow automatically? During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), male participants in a romantic relationship performed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to evaluate implicit attitudes toward adultery and a go/no-go task to measure prefrontal activity implicated in explicit executive control. Subsequently, they were engaged in a date-rating task in which they rated how much they wanted to date unfamiliar females. We found that the individuals with higher prefrontal activity during go/no-go task could regulate the interest for dates with unattractive females; moreover, the individuals with both a stronger negative attitude toward adultery and higher prefrontal activity could regulate their interest for dates with attractive females, and such individuals tended to maintain longer romantic relationships with a particular partner. These results indicate that regulation of amorous temptation via monogamous relationship is affected by the combination of automatic and reflective processes.


Monogamy fMRI Dual-process theory Implicit social cognition Self-control 



We are grateful to Maki Terao for her assistance in data collection and James Anderson for his proofreading and insightful comments. This study was conducted using the MRI scanner and related facilities of the Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University. This work was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17J01776, JP16H05861, and the ImPACT Program of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (Cabinet Office, Government of Japan). Nobuhito Abe was supported by the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)TokyoJapan
  3. 3.Kokoro Research CenterKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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