Remembering the romantic past: Autobiographical memory functions and romantic relationship quality

Cagla Aydin*, Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0251004
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


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