Report

Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriage Will Be Satisfying

Science  29 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6162, pp. 1119-1120
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243140

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Newlywed Game?

The extent to which our “gut” feelings influence our social interactions has been a matter of debate. Social psychologists have sometimes been criticized for their reliance on short-term analyses of undergraduates as test subjects. McNulty et al. (p. 1119) measured explicit and implicit attitudes of newlywed couples toward one another twice a year for 4 years. Over time, the implicit or unaware evaluations of the relationship predicted changes of marital satisfaction, whereas the explicit or conscious evaluations did not.

Abstract

For decades, social psychological theories have posited that the automatic processes captured by implicit measures have implications for social outcomes. Yet few studies have demonstrated any long-term implications of automatic processes, and some scholars have begun to question the relevance and even the validity of these theories. At baseline of our longitudinal study, 135 newlywed couples (270 individuals) completed an explicit measure of their conscious attitudes toward their relationship and an implicit measure of their automatic attitudes toward their partner. They then reported their marital satisfaction every 6 months for the next 4 years. We found no correlation between spouses’ automatic and conscious attitudes, which suggests that spouses were unaware of their automatic attitudes. Further, spouses’ automatic attitudes, not their conscious ones, predicted changes in their marital satisfaction, such that spouses with more positive automatic attitudes were less likely to experience declines in marital satisfaction over time.

View Full Text

Related Content