Trust fools you into remembering that your partner was more
considerate and less hurtful than he or she actually was.
New research from Northwestern University and Redeemer
University College (Ontario, Canada) is the first to systematically examine the
role of trust in biasing memories of transgressions in romantic partnerships.
People who are highly trusting tended to remember
transgressions in a way that benefits the relationship, remembering partner
transgressions as less severe than they originally reported them to be. People
low on trust demonstrated the opposite pattern, remembering partner
transgressions as being more severe than how they originally reported them to
Why trust is good
"One of the ways that trust is so good for
relationships is that it makes us partly delusional," said Eli J. Finkel,
co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Northwestern.
Laura B. Luchies, lead author of the study, said the current
psychological reality of your relationship isn't what actually happened in the
past, but rather the frequently distorted memory of what actually happened.
"You can remember your partner as better or as worse
than he/she really was, and those biased memories are important determinants of
how you think about your partner and your relationship," she said.
Researchers have long known that trust is crucial to a
"This research presents a newer, deeper
understanding," Finkel said. "It reveals that trust yields
relationship-promoting distortions of the past."
Said Luchies, assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer
University College: "If you talk to people who really trust their partner
now, they forget some of the negative things their partner did in the past. If
they don't trust their partner much, they remember their partner doing negative
things that the partner never actually did. They tend to misremember."