Trust makes you delusional and that's not all bad

February 27, 2013

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 in romantic partnerships.

People who are highly trusting tended to remember transgressions in a way that benefits the relationship, remembering 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 be.

"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 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 well-functioning relationship.

"This research presents a newer, deeper understanding," Finkel said. "It reveals that trust yields -promoting of the past."

Said Luchies, assistant professor of 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."

Explore further: Cut your Valentine some slack

More information: "Trust and Biased Memory of Transgressions in Romantic Relationships" was published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Related Stories

Cut your Valentine some slack

February 13, 2012
If the one you love usually forgets Valentine's Day, but this year makes a romantic effort, you should give him credit for trying.

High social status makes people more trusting, study finds

September 28, 2011
When you start a new job, your boss may be more likely to trust you than you are to trust him or her, a new study suggests.

Secret love cheats pose a greater infection risk than those in open sexual relationships

June 14, 2012
People who were sexually unfaithful without their partner's knowledge were less likely to practice safe sex than those who had other sexual relationships with their partner's consent. They were also more likely to be under ...

Recommended for you

Depression changes structure of the brain, study suggests

July 21, 2017
Changes in the brain's structure that could be the result of depression have been identified in a major scanning study.

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.