I really liked this article. The first idea that struck me in it was the idea that people will remember goals they have when reminded of people in their lives whom they associate with those goals. This could serve as a function to help maintain social networks - when I think of my friend, it makes me want to maintain that relationship, and a goal, whose completion presumably would involve being together if it was associated with him or her, would serve to strengthen that relationship.
I was also very interested in the author's finding that performance was impaired on the Stroop task at different times depending on the race of the interaction partner. When the same-race interaction partner mimicked the subject's behavior, indicating affiliation, the subject's performance was better than when the partner did not mimic them. However, when the partner was of a different race, subjects performed better when the partner did not mimic them. The researchers attributed this to people expecting better treatment from members of their own race than from members of a different one. The finding was not explained any further.
Why were the subjects' resources more depleted? More importantly, where had the resources been used that they were unavailable for the cognitive task? Did they go to combat the unexpected treatment by the partner? Or were they somewhere else, creating a new heuristic that could be called upon the next time the subject was in a similar situation? It would have been an interesting follow-up to see if, put in the same situation of non - mimicry by the same race partner, and mimicry by the cross race partner, the subject still had depleted performance, or if their expectations (if those were the culprit) had adjusted themselves.
On a lighter note, I was happy to read that the study showed that romantic partners were more likely to achieve their goals if they had more social support, especially from their romantic partners. It is a heartening thing to hear that all those "We can do anything - together!" stories have some basis in reality.