Study: Happy Couples Mirror Each Other’s Speech & Writing

Posted on Oct 19, 2010
Just weeks after one study found that couples who fight in the same way are less likely to divorce, a second study has found the healthy couples often mimicked the way that each other talks, moves, and writes. That’s right: when you see a couple at a party that uses the same phrases, sounds alike, and makes the same movements, it may seem off-putting, but it may be one way they stay together.

Researchers who conducted the study looked at a wide range of subjects – from college students to famous literary couples such as Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Couples that fared better used the same language and phrasing, while those who did not had relationships that ultimately didn’t work out. Some researchers believe that this pattern holds true because couples in successful relationship often have similar backgrounds, educations, and interests that would cause then to use the same speaking patterns. Other family studies experts believe that healthy couples learn to mirror and mimic behaviors over the years as a show of support, understanding, and successful communication.

Of course, the study only correlates mimicking behavior – it does not assign a cause. It is unclear whether couples who sound alike or write alike are initially attracted to each other or whether successful couples begin to take on each other’s communication styles over time. Either way, the study certainly puts doubt on the old theory that opposites attract.

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