Through the eyes of love: reality and illusion in intimate relationships.

  title={Through the eyes of love: reality and illusion in intimate relationships.},
  author={Garth J. O. Fletcher and Patrick S. G. Kerr},
  journal={Psychological bulletin},
  volume={136 4},
This article reviews the research literature and theory concerned with accuracy of judgments in romantic relationships. We initially propose a model of cognition in (romantic) relationships that distinguishes between 2 forms of accuracy: mean-level bias and tracking accuracy. We then report the results of meta-analyses of research on heterosexual, romantic relationships, which used external benchmarks and reported levels of tracking accuracy (98 studies) and/or mean-level bias (48 studies). The… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

You are so beautiful... to me: seeing beyond biases and achieving accuracy in romantic relationships.

The results suggest that romantic partners have some awareness of each other's identity and reputation for physical attractiveness, supporting theories that couple members' perceptions are driven by motives to fulfill both esteem- and epistemic-related needs.

Accuracy and bias in perceptions of relationship authenticity

Impressions regarding the attributes of romantic partners play an important role in shaping attributions for relationship-relevant behaviors, but these perceptions are a mix of fact and fiction. In

Perceptual Accuracy for Sexual Rejection in Romantic Relationships

Results showed that people demonstrated general tracking accuracy in detecting a partner's sexual rejection, but they also overestimated the degree and occurrence of this rejection, and this overestimation bias was associated with lower daily relationship and sexual satisfaction.

Perceptual Accuracy for Sexual Rejection in Romantic Relationships

In the current research, we investigated perceptual accuracy in romantic partners’ detection of sexual rejection. In two daily diary studies of predominantly cisgender heterosexual couples, we

Empathic Accuracy and Relationship Satisfaction: A Meta-Analytic Review

A meta-analytic review of 21 studies that examined the association between EA and satisfaction found that EA for negative emotions was more closely related to satisfaction than EA for positive ones, suggesting that EA may be more meaningful when relationships are consolidating but before they become stable.

Accuracy and Bias in Perceptions of Relationship Interest for Intergroup and Intragroup Roommates

Previous research suggests that the perception of anxiety in intergroup interactions can be detrimental to relationship formation. However, the underlying processes through which this occurs remain

Seeing bad does good: Relational benefits of accuracy regarding partners’ negative moods

When would greater empathic accuracy (EA) be an asset and when would it not? In two studies of romantic couples (both employing daily diaries, the second also involving a lab-based video-recall

Cheer-Leading versus Truth-Seeking in Intimate Relationships: Scale Development and Testing

This study details the development of a novel scale to measure individual differences in cheer-leading (bias) and truth-seeking (accuracy) in the context of romantic relationships. In Study 1,

Truth and bias in daily judgments of support receipt between romantic partners

The perception that a partner is supportive, tied to beneficial relational and personal outcomes, may be shaped by reality (the partner's actual support) but is often also biased. Using T. V. West

Perceptions of a romantic partner's approach and avoidance motives: Accuracy, bias, and emotional cues.

It is demonstrated that accuracy and bias are both present in judgments of a romantic partner's approach and avoidance motives, and that people often, but not always, use their partner's emotions to make such judgments.



Meta-awareness of bias in intimate relationships.

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

Mind-reading accuracy in intimate relationships: assessing the roles of the relationship, the target, and the judge.

Using a video-review procedure, multiple perceivers carried out mind-reading tasks of multiple targets at different levels of acquaintanceship (50 dating couples, friends of the dating partners, and

The self-fulfilling nature of positive illusions in romantic relationships: love is not blind, but prescient.

In this study of the long-term benefits (or possible costs) of positive illusions, both members of dating couples completed measures of idealization and well-being 3 times in a year to reveal that idealization had a variety of self-fulfilling effects.

The benefits of positive illusions: Idealization and the construction of satisfaction in close relationships.

It is proposed that satisfaction is associated with idealistic, rather than realistic, perceptions of one's partner. To provide baselines for assessing relationship illusions, both members of married

Identification and the Commitment Shift: Accounting for Gender Differences in Relationship Illusions

It is shown that gender differences in relationship identities exist at a general level and that men need to identify with and then commit to a specific relationship before they exhibit pro-relationship thinking, which women exhibit as general dispositions.

When accuracy hurts, and when it helps: a test of the empathic accuracy model in marital interactions.

This study tested predictions from W. Ickes and J. A. Simpson's empathic accuracy model on married couples as they tried to resolve a problem in their marriage and found that when the partner's thoughts and feelings were relationship-threatening, greater empathy accuracy on the part of the perceiver was associated with pre-to-posttest declines in the perceIVER's feelings of subjective closeness.

The Relation between Current Impressions and Memories of Self and Dating Partners

The purpose of the present study was to examine the association between naturally occurring changes in people's impressions and their recollections of themselves, close others, and their

Accuracy in interpersonal perception: a social relations analysis.

It is argued that modern accuracy research should (a) focus on measuring when and how people are accurate and not on who is accurate, (b) use each person as both judge and target, and (c) partition accuracy into components.

Self-other agreement in personality and affectivity: the role of acquaintanceship, trait visibility, and assumed similarity.

Self- and other-ratings on the Big Five and a comprehensive inventory of trait affect were obtained and cross-sample comparisons indicated that agreement was significantly higher in the married sample than in the other 2 groups; however, analyses of 3 potential moderators in the dating and friendship samples failed to identify the source of this acquaintanceship effect.

Bias and Accuracy in Close Relationships: An Integrative Review

  • F. GagnéJ. Lydon
  • Psychology
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2004
This work addresses the issue of how intimates regulate their esteem needs about their relationships and still function effectively, without risking later regret and disappointment, by first reviewing work showing that because bias and accuracy are independent, they can co-exist.