Sociable, Collaborative Encouraging Couple Do Better On Memory Tasks

September 12, 2011
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New research indicates that couples who are sociable, collaborative and encouraging did better on the memory tasks. This collaborative approach in social interactions could be a key to memory retention and independent living later in life.

Researchers hypothesized that social partners can serve as useful external memory aids, particularly in middle and late life when these abilities may wane. They studied middle-aged and elderly husband-and-wife pairs to find out if there was a collaborative component in extending individuals’ memory. The middle-aged couples had an average age of 35; the elderly couples 75.

In memory-specific tasks, they noticed that the younger pairs were better able to fill in memory gaps than their older counterparts. 

“This study had to do with couples, but you interact with coworkers, adult children and others throughout middle and late life. If someone is living in a long-term care facility, they’re interacting with caregivers,” said lead researcher Jennifer Margrett, Ph.D. “And so the idea is to extrapolate our findings to see how we can support people within the context of both normal cognitive aging, as well as non-normative cognitive aging — which includes some memory impairment, and potentially dementia.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Psychology.

Scratching my head here as to what we can do with this now. I do believe that being with someone is far better than being alone but that someone for my money has to be the very things they state – sociable, collaborative and encouraging. So I guess to the extent you find the right someone, your strength as a team can benefit your quality of life.

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