Chatting structure could reveal viability of romantic relationships

Although this applies to all relationships, if you happen to be involved in one that began on or is largely dependent on the internet, this study could be of interest to you.

The findings kind of remind me of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, the part about researchers being able to predict future divorces based on similar criteria. It seems that in conversation, the words used by couples to communicate- not so much the content as the actual words, mind- can serve as gauge as to whether they are likely to remain together. It seems pairings in which partners adopt a similar manner of speaking have a much higher chance of “working out.”

80% of study participants who passed the sychronicity test remained together for three months following the studied conversations, versus 54% of couple who didn’t, like, talk the same. The key is, according to the study, “function words.” To wit:

These aren’t nouns and verbs; they’re the words that show how those words relate. They’re hard to explicitly define, but we use them all the time – words like the, a, be, anything, that, will, him, and and. How we use these words constitutes our writing and speaking style, says study coauthor James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin.

Pennebaker breaks it on down:

“Every conversation sounded more or less the same to the naked ear, but text analysis revealed stark differences in language synchrony. The pairs whose language style matching scores were above average were almost four times as likely to want future contact as pairs whose speaking styles were out of sync.”

Dying to know if your relationship is one of the lucky, same-talking types? You can copy/paste chats here to find out.

[NewScientist, Telegraph, Medical News, Image]