Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2024

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Psychological Science

Department Chair or Program Director

Liss, Miriam

First Advisor

Erin Palmwood

Major or Concentration



Romantic relationships are extremely important connections for humans to make. When these relationships end, one partner will sometimes engage in unwanted pursuit behaviors (UPBs) to attempt to continue communication the other. Although previous research has demonstrated that these UPBs can result in psychological distress among victims, little is known about how they influence one’s emotional reactivity to the perpetrator. This study therefore sought to investigate the link between cyber and in-person UPBs and neural indicators of emotional reactivity when viewing photos of an ex-partner. Participants (n = 18) who experienced a breakup were asked to view pictures of their ex-partner while brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Specifically, researchers looked at the vertex positive potential (VPP) and late positive potential (LPP) as neural markers of emotional reactivity. Results indicated that those who experienced many cyber UPBs evidenced lower emotional reactivity to their former partners, while those who experienced many in-person UPBs demonstrated higher emotional reactivity. These findings indicate that UPBs after the end of a relationship have a significant effect on how one partner emotionally reacts to their ex-partner, though the direction of this effect varies based on whether the UPBs occur in person or online.