Interpersonal risk and the evaluation of transgressions in close relationships

Interpersonal risk and the evaluation of transgressions in close relationships An experiment examined individuals’willingness to excuse a romantic partner of blame for a transgression when perceptions that a relationship is risky are salient. Participants evaluated an actual transgression on measures tapping three levels of appraisal: (a) initial impressions of the act (i.e., severity of the transgression), (b) considerations of the context in which it occurred (i.e., judgments about excuses and extenuating context), and (c) judgments about its broader implications for the relationship (attributions of globality). Evaluator perspective was also varied. Half the participants (actors) evaluated their own partner's wrongdoing; half (observers) evaluated another participant's partner's wrongdoing. Compared to controls, risk participants rated the transgression as more severe and were more cautious and risk‐averse in assessing the merits of potentially excusing information. Evaluator perspective did not influence these judgments, a finding consistent with a cognitive interpretation of the results. In contrast, the effects of risk on judgments of globality were more pronounced among observers than among actors, suggesting that motivational pressures come into play when the evaluative stakes are higher. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Personal Relationships Wiley

Interpersonal risk and the evaluation of transgressions in close relationships

Personal Relationships, Volume 6 (2) – Jun 1, 1999

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
1350-4126
eISSN
1475-6811
DOI
10.1111/j.1475-6811.1999.tb00184.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An experiment examined individuals’willingness to excuse a romantic partner of blame for a transgression when perceptions that a relationship is risky are salient. Participants evaluated an actual transgression on measures tapping three levels of appraisal: (a) initial impressions of the act (i.e., severity of the transgression), (b) considerations of the context in which it occurred (i.e., judgments about excuses and extenuating context), and (c) judgments about its broader implications for the relationship (attributions of globality). Evaluator perspective was also varied. Half the participants (actors) evaluated their own partner's wrongdoing; half (observers) evaluated another participant's partner's wrongdoing. Compared to controls, risk participants rated the transgression as more severe and were more cautious and risk‐averse in assessing the merits of potentially excusing information. Evaluator perspective did not influence these judgments, a finding consistent with a cognitive interpretation of the results. In contrast, the effects of risk on judgments of globality were more pronounced among observers than among actors, suggesting that motivational pressures come into play when the evaluative stakes are higher.

Journal

Personal RelationshipsWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1999

References

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