Victims Versus Perpetrators: Affective And Empathic Forecasting Regarding Transgressions In Romantic Relationships

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Prior research suggests that people frequently mispredict their own and other people's emotional responses. In a longitudinal study, both members of 104 couples predicted the degree to which they (affective forecast) and their partner (empathic forecast) would experience sadness in response to 20 relationship transgressions, in both victim and perpetrator roles. Then, every two weeks for 10 weeks, participants reported whether they or their partner had enacted each transgression and indicated how sad they felt about each transgression. Such procedures allowed for comparisons of both affective and empathic forecasts with actual experiences for both victim and perpetrator roles. Participants forecast greater sadness for themselves and their partner in both the victim and perpetrator roles than they actually experienced. Participants correctly forecast that they would be sadder in the perpetrator than the victim role, but incorrectly forecast that their partner would be sadder in the victim than the perpetrator role. (c) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.