Two studies examined the process by which romantic relationship partners who report lower self-expansion in their relationship come to show greater interest in their alternatives. We tested predictions based on the alternatives literature in which lacking relationship-derived self-expansion would lead to failures of motivational bias (i.e., devaluing attractive alternatives) and perceptual bias (i.e., failing to notice attractive alternatives) to influence perceptions of alternatives. We conducted two cross-sectional studies, one designed to test failure of the motivational bias and one the perceptual bias. Results supported the predictions, indicating that both biases fail to operate in individuals whose current romantic relationship provides insufficient self-expansion. We discuss implications for relationship outcomes, as well as for the theoretical understanding of alternatives.
- motivational bias
- perceptual bias
- susceptibility to infidelity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science