People in long-lasting marriages know less about their partners than people in shorter relationships, says a new research.
The study, conducted by two University of Basel psychologists, Benjamin Scheibehenne and Jutta Mata, and psychologist Peter Todd of Indiana University in Bloomington, found that couples married for an average of 40 years know less about one another's food, movie and kitchen-design preferences than do partners who have been married or in committed relationships for a year or two.
The researchers observed this counterintuitive pattern in 38 young couples aged 19 to 32, and 20 older couples aged 62 to 78.
The greatest gap in partner knowledge was in predicting food preferences, an area with particular relevance to daily life.
"That wasn't what we expected to find, but this evidence lends support to a hypothesis that accuracy in predicting each other's preferences decreases over the course of a relationship despite greater time and opportunity to learn about each other's likes and dislikes," ABC News quoted Todd as aying.
Older couples' knowledge decline partly reflects a tendency by partners to pay increasingly less attention to one another, because they view their relationship as firmly committed or assume that they have little left to learn about each other, the researchers propose.
The study is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.