nferring a partner’s ideal discrepancies: Accuracy, projection, and the communicative role of interpersonal behavior.

Abstract Guided by the ideal standards model (Simpson, Fletcher, & Campbell, 2001), we tested in 2 studies whether (a) individuals were accurate when inferring how closely they matched their romantic partner’s ideal standards, (b) such accurate inferences explained why people are more satisfied when they more closely match their partner’s ideals, and (c) accurate inferences are generated via the partner’s behavior during conflict interactions. Both members of dating and/or married couples were recruited for each study. In both studies, people’s inferences into how closely they matched their partner’s ideals were based on a blend of accuracy and projection processes. Individuals were also less satisfied when they failed to match their partner’s ideal standards (as rated by their partner), and, as predicted, this effect was mediated by people’s accurate inferences regarding how closely they matched their partner’s ideals. In Study 2, spouses were also video-recorded while they attempted to resolve an important marital conflict. As predicted, Partner A’s prediscussion ideal discrepancies predicted pre- to postdiscussion changes in Partner B’s inferences, and this effect was partly mediated by the observed interpersonal behaviors of Partner A. Results from these dyadic data analyses suggest that people do have accurate insight into the extent to which they match their partner’s ideal standards, and these inferences are generated, in part, by the way the partner behaves toward the self during diagnostic conflict interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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