Receive LOVE in your mailbox

Try our weekly newsletter with amazing tips to bring and retain love in your life

#ScienceSpeaks The Tone Of Your Voice Predicts How Long Your Relationship Will Last

Parents usually use the refrain, ‘Watch your tone,’ while dealing with their surly teenage children. However, the same holds true for your romantic relationships as well. A recent study published in Proceedings of Interspeech found that the tone of voice that couples use to communicate with each other can predict whether the relationship will succeed or is doomed to fail.

The research was led by Shrikanth Narayanan and Panayiotis Georgiou of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, doctoral student MD Nasir, and collaborator Brian Baucom of the University of Utah.

Over a period of two years, the researchers recorded hundreds of conversations from over one hundred couples taken during marriage therapy sessions. Then, they checked in with with five more years of follow-up questioning with the same couples.

couple talking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Then, the researchers created an algorithm that divided the recordings into acoustic features using speech-processing techniques. Speech-processing is basically the process where speech signals are interpreted, understood, and acted upon. During the study, they found that things like pitch, intensity, jitter, and shimmer could be indicative of moments of high emotion, and that there was a definite correlation between people’s vocal habits and whether their marriages continued to be successful or not.

Apparently, the algorithm that the researchers created could correctly predict 74.1 percent of the time whether or not couples would remain together after five years. The surprising thing was that the algorithm outperformed the analysis done by human relationship experts.

Suggested read: #ScienceSpeaks Men and women experience breakups differently

The doctoral student, Nasir, said,

“What you say is not the only thing that matters; it’s very important how you say it. Our study confirms that it holds for a couple’s relationship as well. it’s not just about studying your emotions; it’s about studying the impact of what your partner says on your emotions.”

Although it’s difficult to know whether a person’s speech patterns and styles actually affect their relationships or are a barometer of them, the researchers hope that their findings can be used to help relationships by identifying potentially harmful actions and behaviors in the future.

couple talking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Speaking about the findings of the study, collaborator Baucom said,

“Psychological practitioners and researchers have long known that the way that partners talk about and discuss problems has important implications for the health of their relationships. However, the lack of efficient and reliable tools for measuring the important elements in those conversations has been a major impediment in their widespread clinical use. These findings represent a major step forward in making objective measurement of behavior [that is] practical and feasible for couple therapists.”

Although this is all well and good, there’s no precise algorithm that can fix a broken relationship. However, if you’ve observed a marked shift in the tone in which you and your partner communicate with each other, then that may be the red flag staring you in the face, telling you that you may have some problems you need to sort out. Your gut is your best friend when it comes to detecting something off in your relationship. Even the subtlest clues might help you nip the problem in the bud and save your relationship from its doom.

Remember, what you say to your partner is as important as how you say it.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
The Tone Of Your Voice Predicts How Long Your Relationship Will Last
Does the tone of your voice outweigh the words you utter? This study has concluded that it is so. Plus, it can predict how long your relationship will last.
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg