Quick – you’ve got 30 seconds to recall a romance experience you shared with your partner….

Could you do it? If you couldn’t you are not alone.

A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that although people expect to enjoy recalling happy times long after the event, life takes over and they usually forget to remember those experiences.


That romantic trip to Paris? That dreamy time you danced in each other’s arms on the beach? You were probably day dreaming about recalling such memories when you planned the trip. In fact, half of the fun of travel or attending events is the anticipation of being able to recall the fabulous time you had, years later. Unfortunately, the study found that people frequently overestimate how much they will think of, or talk about, happy memories. Turns out, the more you expect to remember the more you overestimate how much you will savour it later on.

One of the experiments conducted by the researchers at the New York University Stern School of Business involved participants who went to a U.S. Open tennis tournament. The next day they predicted they would reminisce much more than they reported doing two months later. In fact, the more they enjoyed the experience the more they overestimated. The studies indicated that this effect isn’t because people lose interest. One of the study’s author’s Stephanie Tully, assistant professor of marketing at USC Marshall, commented “Importantly, the desire to retrospect does not change over time. Past experiences become less top-of-mind over time, and, as a result, people simply forget to remember.”

How to boost your memory of romantic times

Thinking of positive aspects of your relationship is a science-proven way to boost feelings for your long term partner. Recalling happy/romantic times is an important way to do just that. One of the ways of remembering to remember those great times is to have visible mementos and photos on display. In a separate study, the researchers looked at the impact of buying mementos. People who purchased merchandise  at events reported talking about the experience and looking at photos more often than those who didn’t. If you are someone who usually avoids the tourist trinket stalls or never buys the professional photos of events then maybe it’s time to re-think that strategy. That plastic Eiffel Tower key ring might be just the trigger you need to recall the romantic trip to Paris you and your partner enjoyed years ago.

My Tip: A digital photo frame is a great way to display photos of your romantic memories without taking up a lot of room. With the frame setup to automatically show the photos as a slide show the movement will catch your eye as you walk past and will prompt you to recall those great times.

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