Reaping what they sow: Benefits of remembering together in intimate couples

Amanda J. Barnier*, Alice C. Priddis, Jennifer M. Broekhuijse, Celia B. Harris, Rochelle E. Cox, Donna Rose Addis, Paul G. Keil, Adam R. Congleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research suggests that remembering with a long-term partner may scaffold successful memory. To test whether collaboration reduces the episodic deficit shown by older adults, we created a social version of Addis, Musicaro, Pan, and Schacter's (2010) episodic memory paradigm. As predicted, in Experiment 1 20 long-married, older adult couples generated more "internal" - on topic, episodic - details when they remembered together versus alone, but the same amount of "external" - off-topic, semantic - details. In Experiment 2 this memory benefit did not extend to 20 young adult couples who generated high levels of internal details together or alone. Notably, however, young adults' self-reported relationship intimacy was related to their episodic recall across conditions. We discuss these findings in terms of possible benefits of collaboration in the face of ageing and cognitive decline as well as the development over time of "transactive memory systems" in intimate relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Collaborative memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Social memory
  • Social scaffolding
  • Transactive memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Reaping what they sow: Benefits of remembering together in intimate couples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this