Huyn et al. (2016)Huyn et al. (2016) examined how taking a future-oriented perspective, by asking yourself what you might think about the conflict in the future, can help in solving the conflict. Their hypothesis was that adopting a future-orientation gives one a broader perspective on the situation. This may help to divert attention away from personal feelings and behaviors in the here-and-now which may make it easier to be non-defensive and non-accusatory and more forgiving (and thus more effective). The figure below shows their proposed model.
In two experiments (1 with students, 2 with older adults) they had participants reflect on a conflict they had had with their romantic partner. Participants were either asked to describe their present thoughts while looking back on the conflict (present-orientation) or to describe what their thoughts about the conflict one year from now would be about the conflict (future-orientation).