The common tendency to describe one's marriage in unrealistic terms has been conceptualized as a positive illusion about marriage. Studies of positive illusions have relied on the logical argument that these perceptions are unreasonably positive. This reasoning is insufficient, because previous studies have relied on volunteer samples with high marital satisfaction and long marital duration, both of which could explain rosy evaluations of one's marriage. The current series of studies examined whether positive marital illusions are an artifact of marital satisfaction and duration. Married and single individuals' estimates of their divorce likelihood and other measures of positive marital illusions revealed that illusions about marriage are not dependent on a volunteer bias, marital satisfaction, or duration. The presence of illusions about a future marriage among single individuals suggests that positive marital illusions are a cultural phenomenon.
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