- FOMO (fear of missing out) may be related to short-term mating interests
- We compete more actively for sexual opportunities when we feel FOMO
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We have all felt it. The nagging anxiety that your friends are having more fun than you elsewhere, often triggered by a seemingly exciting post on social media.
The phenomenon of so-called “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, has become a common experience among younger generations.
Now, researchers have discovered the scientific reasons why we feel it.
In addition to our innate competitiveness, it has a lot to do with the human instinct to search for a potential sexual partner, according to a new study by Canadian scientists.
In other words, it’s an ingrained sense of “what if” regarding romantic relationships. When we feel like we are missing out, we compete more actively for social and sexual opportunities.
Research has suggested that FOMO is due to competitive behaviors and short-term mating interests. In women, it was also related to less social support.
Study author Adam Davis, professor of social sciences at Canadore College, said: “FOMO could alert people to the threat of not participating in these important social activities, which could motivate them to seek and compete for social and sexual opportunities.” “.
Researchers at Nipissing University in Canada enrolled 327 heterosexual American adults ages 19 to 60 in the study.
In the study, published in the journal Current research in behavioral sciencesParticipants were given a 10-item scale to measure their base level of FOMO.
It included statements such as “I fear that others will have more rewarding experiences than I do” and “It bothers me when I miss the opportunity to meet up with friends.”
Participants rated the extent to which each statement applied to them on a scale of one to five, with five meaning extremely true.
Participants were then rated on their status seeking, intergender competition, short-term mating effort, and degree of social support with a questionnaire for each.
For status seekers, statements included: ‘Being very successful is important to me. I hope people recognize my achievements.”
For intrasexual competition, they rated statements such as: “I can’t stand it when I meet another woman/man who is more attractive than me.”
Promiscuity was measured through three related factors: behavior, attitude, and desire.
Participants were also asked to indicate the number of sexual partners they had had outside of a committed relationship.
The scores for each factor were combined; a higher score indicated greater promiscuity.
The researchers found that those who were more likely to experience high levels of FOMO also scored higher on measures of sexual desire and attitude toward finding new partners.
Other factors, such as the social support participants felt they had, were not as strongly linked to FOMO/
Study author Adam Davis, professor of social sciences at Canadore College, said: “Among American adults, we found that higher levels of FOMO were associated with a greater desire to seek short-term sexual partners.”