Carnegie Mellon University

Kaylyn Kim

Kaylyn KimMajor: Psychology
Minor: Creative Writing
Adviser: Brooke Feeney
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Using Security Priming to Reduce Jealousy in Romantic Relationships

The proposed research will examine a potential means of reducing or eliminating the experience of jealousy in romantic relationships through security priming. Previous research on jealousy has shown that jealousy in romantic relationships has an overall negative impact on individuals within the relationship and on the relationship itself. To combat this, previous research on security priming in relationships has shown its success in evoking a sense of emotional connection and relationship security. In the proposed study, participants will be randomly assigned to experience a security prime or control condition immediately prior to encountering an experience that is intended to evoke jealousy. The effects of the security prime on jealous thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will be assessed. The proposed investigation may inform interventions designed to enhance the functioning and well-being of individuals and their relationships.


A little about me: I’m from a beach town in Southern California, I enjoy playing the guitar and ukulele and have an online jewelry shop that I sell handmade wire rings and bracelets on. A weird fact about me is that there is a semi-viral video on YouTube of me reviewing different types of lip balms!

For most of my life, I’ve been fascinated with psychology and trying to understand why people are the way they are. During high school, I was a volunteer listener at a telephone helpline that helped shape my interests in people in a constructive direction. After going through several weeks of training at the helpline—imagine this—I was a sixteen-year-old girl lending an empathetic ear over the telephone to men and women of all ages, many who were twice my age. I recall the first moment I understood the impact I was making in these callers lives—a frequent caller, whose alias was Mark, called in to discuss his usual feelings of frustration he felt toward his ex-wife. That day, he was feeling particularly anxious about some confusion over a family heirloom he was having with his sister. After I listened, I interjected, “Mark, this sounds so hard. I wonder if you have anyone to talk about this in person with. I am not in your shoes and I can’t quite fully understand the situation, but do you have anyone else in your life you can talk to this problem about?” I remember the long silence—so long that I thought he had hung up. He finally responded, “I guess I don’t. I think that’s the problem, huh. Wow, I never thought about it like that.” What I said was so simple, and you would think this would be obvious to a man who relied on a telephone helpline for emotional support, but it wasn’t to him—he had never given much thought about the reason why he felt so unhappy. He admitted it was an aspect in his life he needs to work on, and after my words of encouragement, he thanked me graciously and hung up. When you’re sixteen, you still feel very childish and young, but I had just helped a grown man realize something important about himself. I remember feeling absolutely shocked at what I could do with my voice.

I have many of stories from that helpline, some funny, some sad, but that one about Mark was the one I remembered the most fondly. I still hold that same fervor to this day—I jump on any chance to immerse myself more into psychology and learning about the way people think and behave.

So that’s a little about me. Bottom line, I’m simply just a student who is very interesting in creating a high-quality research study on a topic that fascinates me. During my time at Carnegie Mellon, I have been gaining valuable research experience working in the Relationships Lab alongside of Dr. Brooke Feeney.

I am so honored and excited to have been given the opportunity to work toward my own research interests—also, we have never formally looked at jealousy in the lab, and I think it would truly bring us a wealth of knowledge that would be practical and applicable to reducing conflicts within romantic relationships.

Support this Project
Read Kaylyn's blog