Does relationship status affect the way people behave?

Researchers reveal some interesting results on how people's actions can be influenced by the relationship status they hold.

The Golden Rule is something people often try to live by, and some may even call it a way of life. In short: Treat people the way you want to be treated.

But as simple as that sounds, actual behavior can be much more complicated. Researchers say relationship status can influence a person's perceptions and treatment of others.

A forthcoming study shows people like to believe their way of life is the best for everyone — especially if they think their relationship status is unlikely to change — regardless of whether they're single or in a couple, according to Psychological Science.

Researchers Kristin Laurin of Stanford University, David Kille and Richard Eibach of the University of Waterloo conducted several studies to find out why.

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One of the studies showed that the more stable participants considered their relationship status to be, the more they idealized that status as a norm for others to follow. This applied to both single and coupled participants, regardless of how personally happy they were with their status.

In another study, participants who were led to perceive greater stability in their relationship status judged same-status job candidates more positively, although they weren’t more likely to hire them.

A total of four studies were analyzed by the researchers. The results showed that perceived stability led both coupled and single participants to treat others like them more favorably.

"People may be aware of their own tendency to idealize being single or coupled, but they may not realize that this can impact how they respond to others — and how others respond to them," the researchers observed.

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According to the researchers, the study is "the first to show relationship-specific patterns of prejudice whereby both single and coupled people favor others who share their relationship status over those who don't."

As a next step, the researchers plan to explore whether people idealize other aspects of their lives, such as the decisions they’ve made, the type of community they live in or the career path they've chosen.

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