Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Predicting relationship breakups with a word-association task

Date:
July 8, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Here's a way to tell a romantic relationship is going to fall apart: find out what people really think about their partners. The researchers in a new study used a so-called implicit task, which shows how people automatically respond to words -- in this case, whether they find it easier to link words referring to their partner to words with pleasant or unpleasant meanings.

Here's a way to tell a romantic relationship is going to fall apart: find out what people really think about their partners. The researchers in a new study used a so-called implicit task, which shows how people automatically respond to words -- in this case, whether they find it easier to link words referring to their partner to words with pleasant or unpleasant meanings.

Most research on relationship success has focused on how the people in the relationship feel about each other. And this is usually done by the obvious route: asking them. "But the difficulty with that is, that assumes that they know themselves how happy they are, and that's not always the case," says Ronald D. Rogge, of the University of Rochester. "To make things worse, a lot of people don't want to tell you if they're starting to feel less happy in their relationship." So he and his colleagues Soonhee Lee and Harry T. Reis turned to a technique often used to assess racism and bias, other feelings people have trouble admitting to themselves and to researchers.

The 222 volunteers in their study were all involved in a romantic relationship. Each volunteer supplied the partner's first name and two other words that related to the partner, like a pet name or a distinctive characteristic. Then they watched a monitor as three types of words were presented one at a time -- good words (like peace, vacation, or sharing), bad words (such as death, tragedy, and criticizing), and partner-related words (names or traits). There were two different kinds of tests: one where the volunteer was supposed to press the space bar whenever they saw either good words or partner-related words, and one where the combination was bad words and partner words. The idea is to get at people's automatic reactions to the words -- if they have generally good associations with their partners, 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 separate 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 breakup. "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," says Rogge.

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Predicting relationship breakups with a word-association task." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707152205.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, July 8). Predicting relationship breakups with a word-association task. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707152205.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Predicting relationship breakups with a word-association task." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707152205.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins