Meta-awareness of bias in intimate relationships.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Prior research has demonstrated that individuals hold positively biased views of their intimate partners (e.g., Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 1996a). The current research investigated meta-awareness of bias in partner judgments. In Study 1 (N = 50) individuals read one of three vignettes depicting intimate relationships of varying quality, and then rated the extent to which the fictional partners over- or under-estimated each other's mate value. As predicted, participants reported that fictional partners in happier relationships were more likely to be positively biased in judging their partners. In Study 2 (N = 124) individuals in intimate relationships provided explicit reports of the extent to which, a) they over- or under-estimated their partners' mate value, and b) their own mate value was over- or under-estimated by their partners. As expected, individuals perceived that their own judgments of their partners, and their partners' judgments of self, were positively biased. Moderators of these associations were also investigated. In Study 3, the results of Study 2 were replicated and extended with a sample of 57 couples. Mate value judgments were both perceived as positively biased, and actually were positively biased, at the mean level. Critically, SEM analyses showed that people who actually were more positively biased in judging their partners' mate value, a) perceived themselves as more positively biased, and b) were perceived by their partners as more positively biased. These findings suggest that positive bias in partner judgments is a normative and consciously accessible feature of intimate relationships, and that intimate relationships are characterized by significant reality tracking.