Can you read your partner’s mind? Researchers think most of us have that ability. In a study of romantic partners observing each other on videotape, most couples were able to perceive the thoughts and feelings that their counterpart reported during a recorded discussion. In the same study, romantic partners did have much greater “empathic accuracy” when reading their partner’s thoughts and feelings versus a stranger’s. Furthermore, greater empathic accuracy correlated with happier relationships. Therefore, it really can only benefit you to try to understand your partner better.
- Encouragingly, your very interest in understanding your partner may enhance the accuracy with which you perceive him or her.
- Interpretation is bolstered by the finding that married couples show less empathic accuracy after their first year of marriage
- Increased empathic accuracy is associated with better relationship outcomes
“In order to assess couples’ mind-reading abilities, Thomas and Fletcher (2003) videotaped young adult dating pairs discussing problems currently causing conflict in their relationships.”