People tend to be overly optimistic when predicting their future behaviors. This research examines how taking someone else’s perspective affects predictions of relationship behaviors. Study 1 (N = 82) showed that taking the partner’s perspective when predicting how many relationship-enhancing behaviors one might perform over the next week reduced the number of predicted behaviors and consequently reduced optimistic bias. Study 2 (N = 244) replicated the reduction in predicted behaviors when taking the partner’s or a friend’s perspective. Study 2 also showed that predictions from another person’s view are similar to predictions for another person’s behavior. Study 3 (N = 149) replicated the reduction in predicted behaviors and the similarity to predictions for other people’s behavior. Furthermore, Study 3 suggests that one reason why adopting another’s perspective affects predictions is an attenuation of the link between forecasts and relationship quality and increase of the link of forecasts with conscientiousness, which tends to be a better predictor of behavior.

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Keywords Interpersonal relationships, optimism, perspective taking, prediction, pro-relational behavior
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Journal Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Peetz, J, Maccosham, A. (Aaron), & May, K. (Kali). (2017). Through your partner’s eyes: Perspective taking tempers optimism in behavior predictions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi:10.1177/0265407517744386