Transactive memory systems scale for couples: Development and validation
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People in romantic relationships can develop shared memory systems by pooling their cognitive resources, allowing each person access to more information but with less cognitive effort. Research examining such memory systems in romantic couples largely focuses on remembering word lists or performing lab-based tasks, but these types of activities do not capture the processes underlying couples' transactive memory systems, and may not be representative of the ways in which romantic couples use their shared memory systems in everyday life. We adapted an existing measure of transactive memory systems for use with romantic couples (TMSS-C), and conducted an initial validation study. In total, 397 participants who each identified as being a member of a romantic relationship of at least 3 months duration completed the study. The data provided a good fit to the anticipated three-factor structure of the components of couples' transactive memory systems (specialization, credibility and coordination), and there was reasonable evidence of both convergent and divergent validity, as well as strong evidence of test-retest reliability across a 2-week period. The TMSS-C provides a valuable tool that can quickly and easily capture the underlying components of romantic couples' transactive memory systems. It has potential to help us better understand this intriguing feature of romantic relationships, and how shared memory systems might be associated with other important features of romantic relationships.
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