Healthy living

Test predicts if relationship will last

Test predicts if relationship will last Do we really want to know?

Are you a bit unsure about the relationship you're in? Well, scientists have devised a test which predicts whether a relationship will be a success or is heading for the rocks.

The key is finding out what people really think about their partners.

This is done by assessing how people automatically respond to words - whether they find it easier to link words referring to their partner to words with positive or negative meanings.

In the study, each volunteer was asked to supply the name of their partner and two words associated with them. They were then made to watch three types of words on a monitor - good, bad, and partner related.

In one test the volunteer was asked to press the space bar whenever they saw either good words or partner-related words; in another, they had to press the space bar where the combination was bad words and partner words.

The idea was to get people’s automatic reactions to words. If they had good associations with their partners, researchers thought they should be able to do the first task more easily than the second.

The researchers found that volunteers who found it easy to associate their partner with bad things and difficult to associate the partner with good things were more likely to split up over the next year.

The researchers also asked volunteers to report on the strength of their relationships at the start of the study – and found that the new test did a much better job of predicting break ups.

“It really is giving us a unique glimpse into how people were feeling about their partners – giving us information that they were unable or unwilling to report,” said study leader Ronald D. Rogge, of the University of Rochester.

The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

This article was published on Fri 8 October 2010

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