The information below is intended for those who took part in the study. If you are not the existing participant, please click here.
Dear research participants!
I appreciate everyone who spent time and effort participating in the study. Thank you! I also apologize for posting this information later than was originally intended. Below is the summary of group findings, as well as the updates on drawing of prizes and the future phases of this research:
The purpose of the study was (a) to introduce a new psychological construct, perceptual agreement, (b) to develop assessment measures for perceptual agreement, and (c) to understand how perceptual agreement relates to diverse aspects of personality and relationship behavior.
In simple terms, perceptual agreement is a similarity between partners' views of shared events or characteristics. For example, if husband views himself as friendly but his wife thinks he is not, then there is perceptual disagreement about husband's friendliness. Similarly, there may (or may not) be some disagreement about the wife's friendliness.
In this research, perceptual agreement was conceived as a global aspect of how partners perceive one-another. That is, perceptual agreement refers to the extent to which partners have a shared reality of their relationship, such as a jointly held vision about who they are and what their relationship is. I theorized that couples vary on perceptual agreement - some are higher than others, for example, and that these variations relate to other aspects of both couple process and the experience of partners as individuals. Among the questionnaires that you completed was a measure by which you yourself reported on the amount of perceptual agreement in your relationship. For those participants who took part as couples, I also could quantify perceptual agreement in the couple in additional ways: based on the answers that both of you gave to many of the questionnaires, in which you described your own and your partner's behavior and experiences.
The first major finding of this study suggested that perceptual agreement could be measured reliably. That is, participants' descriptions of perceptual agreement in their relationship "hang together," and also are consistent over time. Additionally, in the analyses of results for participating couples, I found that partners who agree in their perceptions about one area (e.g., friendliness) also tend to agree in their perceptions about other areas (e.g., commitment). Also, such agreement between members of the couple largely does not change over time.
I also found that perceptual agreement does not relate to demographic characteristics of couples, such as partners' age, gender, education, presence or number of children, sexual orientation, and racial backgrounds. Surprisingly, the length of relationship also did not influence couples' standing on perceptual agreement.
Additional major findings provided evidence for the association of perceptual agreement to many aspects of partners' experiences as individuals (e.g., self-esteem) and as members of a couple (e.g., relationship satisfaction). For example, perceptual agreement was associated positively with partners' constructive communication. In fact, perceptual agreement strongly predicted how happy or unhappy participants felt about their relationship.
Another goal of this study was to understand why couples differ in perceptual agreement. Some indirect findings of this research suggested that perceptual discrepancies among partners could be explained by the presence of what I termed "romantic expectations." That is, some individuals more than others develop preconceived notions and expectations about how their relationships should be. Then, they tend to perceive their actual relationships through the lenses of such expectations. As a result, such individuals tend to misperceive their partners.
Overall, the already obtained findings provide strong evidence for the importance of this research and its potential implications. Thus, your participation made a very valuable contribution. I am very enthusiastic about continuing this endeavor, and will do my best to disseminate the results within research and clinical communities.
Raffle Drawing Update
I apologize for delaying the raffle drawing. The drawing of prizes (iPod and 5 books) was conducted in 2012. A unique number was assigned to each registered email (using randomizer) to generate the winning numbers. All winners had been contacted.
I will be contacting registered research participants for a brief online follow-up in about 3 years from the initial participation. Some of you have already taken part in the re-test phase of this research. The follow-up phase will be even shorter (under 10 minutes) and will consist of fewer of the same questionnaires as the re-test phase. Of course, you are under no obligation to continue your participation.
Thank you again for your contribution,
Michael Ivanov, Ph.D.
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