Seeking certainty: Are people who are experiencing relational doubt more sensitive to relationship cues?

Christine Ann Daly, Purdue University


Experiencing uncertainty in one’s relationship is likely an aversive experience and a motivating factor in restoring confidence about where things stand. Thus, uncertain partners may place more weight on positive and negative interactions with their partner as they seek greater confidence in their evaluation of their relationship. The present research examined how partners responded to two different types of relationship information: a past relationship experience (Study 1, N = 154) and false feedback about its quality (Study 2, N = 154). Results suggest that while partners appear to place significance on positive information, regardless of their uncertainty, whether or not uncertain partners place more significance on negative information than confident partners appears to depend on information type. In addition, no robust downstream effects of uncertainty on global relationship evaluations in response to positive and negative information were observed. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.




Arriaga, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social psychology

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