Women can go blind with jealousy
Researchers found that a woman can fail to notice things in front of her when distracted by the possibility that her husband or boyfriend is attracted to someone else.
Psychologists suggest this reveals something profound about social relationships and perception.
In tests, young couples sat near each other at separate computer screens.
The men were asked to score how attractive pictures of landscapes were.
Their female partners, meanwhile, had to spot photos of landscapes - 'targets' - amid rapid streams of images, which included occasional unpleasant or graphic pictures.
During the experiment, however, the men were asked to rate images of other women for attractiveness.
Their partners were later asked how uneasy that made them feel. Those women who admitted to being jealous had failed to see the targets they were supposed to be looking for.
They suffered an 'emotion-induced blindness', said psychology professors Steven Most and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, from Delaware University.
They concluded: 'The language of social relationships is filled with visual metaphor but the influence of social emotions - known to affect moods, behaviour and physical health - appears to permeate so deeply as to affect processes involved in visual awareness.'
Their study appears in Emotion journal, published by the American Psychological Association.
Future research might reveal whether men are less or more blinded by jealousy.