Examining collaborative dialogue among couples: A window into prospective memory processes

Publication Date



Prospective memory is a key ability required for independent living and consistent with Einstein and McDaniel (1990), we hypothesized that social partners can serve as useful external memory aids, particularly in middle and late life when these abilities may wane. We employed the Virtual Week (Rendell & Craik, 2000) task in a novel way to investigate the contribution of social partners to the prospective memory process. We examined the collaborative interactions of 11 middle-aged (M = 52.15 years; n = 5) and older (M = 75.24 years; n = 6) married dyads. The dialogue of collaborating partners reflected important PM processes (e.g., encoding, monitoring, tutoring). Age group differences favored middle-aged adults, and preliminary evidence suggested a link between collaborative dialogue and PM performance. Further investigation can determine how social partners can be used strategically to improve prospective memory outcomes.


School of Psychology

Document Type

Journal Article

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ERA Access