To differentiate romantic disillusionment from similar constructs of dissatisfaction and regret, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data obtained when romantically involved individuals (N = 39) were reminded of relationship events representing these emotions were analyzed. Whole-brain activations suggested disillusionment-linked processes not observed for dissatisfaction or regret. Compared to dissatisfying events, disillusioning ones showed greater activity in regions pertaining to evaluation, reflection, and reconciling conflicting information (e.g., anterior cingulate cortex). No regions showed significantly more activation for dissatisfying than disillusioning events. Compared to regret-inducing events, disillusioning events showed greater activation in areas thought pertinent to detail processing and decision making (occipital fusiform and lingual gyrus). Regret-inducing events activated regions suggesting the planning and thoughts of how one could have acted differently (e.g., prefrontal cortex).
- romantic relationships