Marital Sentiment Override: Does It Influence Couples' Perceptions?



This study investigated the effects of spouses' global sentiments (i.e., their marital bonds) on spouses' perceptions of their partners' specific affects. Ninety-six newlywed couples participated in the study. Positive or negative sentiment override was indicated when spouse ratings of specific affects differed from the coding of objective coders. For both positive affect and low-intensity negative affect, wives' marital bond predicted their ratings of their husbands' affect. In addition, there was evidence for positive sentiment override when wives rated husbands' low-intensity negative affect. As predicted, neither husbands nor wives were influenced by sentiment override when rating their spouses' high-intensity negative affects. These results suggest that marital bond serves as a perceptual filter through which wives evaluate their husbands' behavior.