Being better than others but otherwise perfectly normal: Perceptions of uniqueness and similarity in close relationships

  • Van Lange Rusbult, C. E., Semin-Goossens, A., Gšrts, C. A., & Stalpers, M. P
  • Lange P
  • Rusbult C
 et al. 
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Abstract

The current research addresses individuals’ self-generated thoughts regarding their own and others’ relationships, examining the ways in which perceptions of uniqueness and similarity are manifested in judgments regarding own and others’ responses to dissatisfying incidents. Consistent with the uniqueness bias, participants characterized their own relationships by a greater number of constructive responses and a smaller number of destructive responses relative to characterizations of others’ relationships. Moreover, external raters judged own constructive responses to be more constructive than others’ constructive responses. Consistent with the similarity bias, external raters judged items describing others’ responses to be less frequently occurring and more extreme than their own responses. Also, this research revealed support for the claim that the similarity bias is more pronounced for destructive responses than for constructive responses. A recall task corroborated these findings, revealing very good recall for destructive responses enacted by others and poor recall for destructive responses enacted by oneself.

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Authors

  • P A M Van Lange Rusbult, C. E., Semin-Goossens, A., Gšrts, C. A., & Stalpers, M.

  • Paul a. M. Lange

  • Caryl E. Rusbult

  • Astrid Semin-Goossens

  • Carien a. Gorts

  • Mirjam Stalpers

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