Partners scrutinize each other's behaviors to identify the quality of their relationship. Because people's perception of their partners' behavior is imperfect, they face a signal detection problem for which there are 4 outcomes: hits, misses, false alarms, and correct rejections. Research confirms the importance of hits, misses, and false alarms for relationship quality, but nothing is known about correct rejections. In a prospective study among newlywed couples, it was predicted and found that people are good at detecting the absence of partner behavior, especially negative partner behavior, and that these correct rejections are important for relationship quality above and beyond hits. Happy partners see reality in a way that maintains their happiness, which includes seeing what is not there. © 2010 IARR.
Finkenauer, C., Wijngaards-de Meij, L., Reis, H. T., & Rusbult, C. E. (2010). The importance of seeing what is not there: A Quasi-Signal Detection analysis of positive and negative behavior in newlywed couples. Personal Relationships, 17, 615-633. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01300.x