November 18, 2020

Research Confirms that Preparation Improves Conflict Outcomes

A recent pair of studies found that people who prepared by thinking about others' perspectives and an outsider's viewpoint before an anticipated interpersonal conflict felt better about the other person afterward. The study, “Wise Reasoning About the Future Is Associated With Adaptive Interpersonal Feelings After Relational Challenges,” was authored by Johanna Peetz and Igor Grossmann, and published in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science

The psychology researchers created two longitudinal studies that tested the effect of "wise reasoning" on the outcomes of interpersonal conflicts. Wise reasoning is a mindset that involves recognizing where one’s knowledge is lacking, acknowledging multiple possible conclusions to a given situation, contemplating the perspectives of others who are involved, contemplating an outsider’s perspective, and seeking compromise. This, in essence, what Ombuds offer their visitors on a daily basis. 

Here's the abstract: 
Two prospective studies examine how wise reasoning about an anticipated conflict interaction—intellectual humility, recognition of uncertainty and change, consideration and integration of different perspectives—is associated with interpersonal feelings and closeness to the interaction partner after the challenging interaction. In Study 1 (N = 243) and preregistered replication Study 2 (N = 234), participants who reasoned more wisely before an anticipated conflict interaction felt more positively toward and closer to the person involved in the conflict afterward. We explored three avenues accompanying effects of wise reasoning about the future for interpersonal outcomes: conflict outcome, perception of the interaction as fair and satisfying, and sense of meaning in the conflict experience. Path models indicated that sense of meaning was a consistent factor accounting for the positive effect of prospective wise reasoning for relational well-being. We discuss implications for research on prospection, wisdom, and well-being.
And citation:
Peetz J, Grossmann I. Wise Reasoning About the Future Is Associated With Adaptive Interpersonal Feelings After Relational Challenges. Social Psychological and Personality Science. June 2020. doi:10.1177/1948550620931985

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