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Couples' Memories Become Intertwined

Their stories are more detailed when they work together: study
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2014 6:38 AM CDT
Couples' Memories Become Intertwined
A couple standing on the British Bridge observe people surfing in the waters of Iracema beach at dusk in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Fortaleza is one of the host cities of the 2014 soccer World Cup.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

(Newser) – Couples may be able to remember together what the individual partners can't. Though studies have in the past suggested that collective recall doesn't work as well as individual, long-term relationships may provide an exception to the rule, io9 reports. In a new study, couples were in many cases just as capable as individuals at recalling lists and similar tasks, the British Psychological Society reports. But what's more intriguing is the interaction the researchers observed when couples were asked to remember vacations together.

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By talking things over, couples were able to remember snippets they couldn't remember individually—like the name of a show. And together, they produced more detailed portraits of their shared experiences. Better shared memory appeared to be linked to increased intimacy in a couple, the researchers noted. Older couples may depend on each other for recall, BPS points out, and that could be why when cognitive function deteriorates in one partner, the other often experiences the same thing. Want to boost your own memory? Get some sleep. (Read more couples stories.)

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