I’ve been reading Malcom Gladwell’s newest book, The Bomber Mafia, which focuses on the development of a WWII theory that strategic bombing is more affective than carpet bombing. In the book, he briefly explores a topic that really piqued my interest — Transactive Memory.
Putting it simply, transactive memory is a sort of psychological phenomenon where two (or more) people can actually store memories inside someone else’s mind. Typically this would be a spouse, best friend, or co-worker.
As an example, you never worry about remembering the WiFi password because it’s stored in their mind. The same might apply to the grocery list, important dates, parts of a presentation, financial numbers, etc.
Here’s Wikipedia on the topic:
Transactive memory is a psychological hypothesis first proposed by Daniel Wegner in 1985 as a response to earlier theories of “group mind” such as groupthink. A transactive memory system is a mechanism through which groups collectively encode, store, and retrieve knowledge. Transactive memory was initially studied in couples and families where individuals had close relationships but was later extended to teams, larger groups, and organizations to explain how they develop a “group mind”, a memory system that is more complex and potentially more effective than that of any of its individual constituents. A transactive memory system includes memory stored in each individual, the interactions between memory within the individuals, as well as the processes that update this memory. Transactive memory, then, is the shared store of knowledge.
If this gets your mind working, I highly encourage you to read the article and do some research on it. It’s really an interesting and mind-bending theory. Also, The Bomber Mafia is worth a read.