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Gender differences in romantic relationship memories: who remembers? Who cares?

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Two studies were conducted to assess patterns of gender differences in memory for romantic relationship events. Results suggested that people believe that women have better memory for romantic relationship events than men, that better relationship memory predicts higher levels of relationship well-being, and that the association between relationship memory and relationship well-being is somewhat stronger for women than for men. Women did tend to have somewhat better relationship memory than men, as assessed via subjective reports from both partners in mixed-sex relationships, and via the number of details partners provided when asked to recall a specific relationship event (i.e., their first date). Consistent with the lay theories, both own and partner’s better relationship memory predicted higher levels of relationship well-being; however, the association between better relationship memory and higher levels of relationship well-being was equally strong for both genders. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
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Keywords: Relationships; gender differences; lay theories; relationship well-being

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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