PhotoSo which do you think is more dangerous to your existing relationship -- a smokin' hot Facebook friend or a fondly remembered face from the past?

A group of researchers set out to find the answer. Participants were shown their friends list and asked to pick out potential sexual partners. Not much happened.

But then the subjects were asked about romantically provocative people from their pasts and the responses were more enthusiastic.

Conclusion: Technology loses to memory -- or as the poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec put it: "You can close your eyes to reality, but not to memories."

In other words, the alternative, romantically desirable partners people keep in their memories are more of a threat to existing relationships than are alternative partners they might consider from scrolling through their list of Facebook friends.

Power of memory

The researchers found that merely thinking about a person one views as a potential romantic partner could lower an individual's relationship satisfaction and commitment to one's current partner. Facebook friends were not seen as romantic alternatives that threatened current committed relationships, which was reported in an article published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

"The participants in this study were unmarried, younger adults, and although the results may not generalize to older, married adults, comparing the power of technology versus the impact of our internal memories on interpersonal relationships is an important area of research," said Journal Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California.

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