People have struggled for years to figure out what makes a good relationship. Is it common interests? Argument styles? Face shapes? Now, a Texas psychologist says his study shows how pronoun use and mirroring will reveal whether a romance will work out, the New York Times reports in its Love Well blog.
Behavioural scientists have long known that humans have a tendency to subconsciously mimic the sounds, style and movement of others. James W. Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, asked 187 students to take part in several four-minute speed dates.
Pennebaker watched them and focused on the personal pronouns (I, you, me), articles (the, a), prepositions (for, of, on), conjunctions (but, and) and other small words. These commonly used so-called function words, about 180 in all, Pennebaker says, are processed rapidly and subconsciously.
He said the way we use them can reveal whether a romance will work out or how well two people work together.
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