Self-regulatory abilities are important for communal actions in relationships. In this paper, we investigate folk theories about dispositional self-regulatory abilities (i.e., conscientiousness) in relationships. Do people recognize the importance of conscientiousness for communal acts with high self-control requirements? In two studies we show that participants ignored conscientiousness information when predicting their own future relationship behaviors. Specifically, they over-used information about their loving feelings and underused information about conscientiousness when predicting their ability to carry out sustained communal acts. However, when predicting another person's future relationship behaviors, such as those of a close friend (Study 1) or of their own romantic partner (Study 2), participants correctly incorporated information about the self-control requirements of the situation and the conscientiousness of the actor.

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Keywords Close relationship, Cognition, Communal behaviour, Prediction, Self
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Journal Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Peetz, J, & Kammrath, L. (Lara). (2013). Folk understandings of self regulation in relationships: Recognizing the importance of self-regulatory ability for others, but not the self. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(4), 712–718. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.02.007