Remembering the romantic past: Autobiographical memory functions and romantic relationship quality
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2021, . 10.1371/journal.pone.0251004
Do the reasons why we think about our memories and share them with others have implications for our romantic relationship quality? In the present series of studies (total N = 1,102), we aimed to answer this question by examining whether the self (e.g., creating a stable self-image), social (e.g., connecting with others) and directive (e.g., guiding future behavior) functions of regular memories (Study 1, Study 2) and relationship memories (Study 2, Study 3) were related to intimacy and satisfaction in the current relationship. We further investigated these links when relationship memories were shared with the romantic partner (Study 3). Results showed no association between the self-reported uses of memory for regular events and relationship quality. In contrast, the social function served by the relationship events was positively associated, and the directive function was negatively associated with intimacy and relationship satisfaction. When the memories were to be shared with the partner, only social function was related, positively, to the relationship satisfaction. Findings were discussed in terms of the importance of considering the self-reported reasons for recalling an event and understanding of the contextual factors in remembering.