It turns out that trying to punish a significant other when his or her eyes wander might actually backfire and encourage infidelity, according to a study published in this month's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers subjected a bunch of undergrad guinea pigs to a computer game involving photos of strangers, followed by a questionnaire. When their attention to photos of attractive members of the opposite sex was "subtly limited" in the game, it "reduced relationship satisfaction and commitment and increased positive attitudes toward infidelity." The study explains, "Being told simply not to look is probably not an effective strategy for boosting satisfaction and commitment or reducing interest in alternatives" -- and it's for the same reason that telling a kid to keep his hands off the cookie jar doesn't reduce his interest in sweets.
Tracy Clark-Flory, on a new scientific study that may or may not change how you treat your significant other in common social situations: