Pragmatic skills predict online counterfactual comprehension: Evidence from the N400
when they are asked to report how they feel about the feedback they encounter. The second theme concerns recent suggestions that people behave so as to re-create the conceptual equivalents of relationships experienced earlier in life. First advanced by Freud in his discussions of transference, the notion that people reenact earlier relationships has gained increasing currency within developmental psychology. Indeed, a growing body of research suggests that the relationships children form with their primary caretakers will later help them—or haunt them—as they mature. Our data suggest that people's self-concepts may be an important vehicle through which childhood relationships are carried forward through life. Finally, in recent years, there has been much talk among psychologists about the tendency for people to "construct reality." With few exceptions, these theorists have referred to a cognitive construction process through which people actively transform sensory data into beliefs and expectations about the world. Our research suggests another sense in which people may construct their social worlds. In particular, once people form and become relatively certain of their selfconceptions, they may work to maintain them by systematically recruiting friends and intimates who will verify these conceptions. In this way, people may alter the raw materials that enter into the cognitive construction process; they may create idiosyncratically skewed versions of social reality that sustain their firmly held beliefs about themselves—even if these beliefs are negative. Such is the power of people's desire to remain in touch with social reality, however harsh that reality may seem.