Researchers believe it's not what you say, it's how you say it
Researchers believe it's not what you say, it's how you say it

Computer programme predicts how happy couples are based on their tone of voice

US researchers claim the algorithm they have developed can predict a married couple's future with 79-per-cent accuracy

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 08 December 2015 13:22
Comments

A computer programme has been developed to determine the state of a couple's relationship - by measuring their tone of voice.

Researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in California and the University of Utah have developed an algorithm that can study the pitch, intensity, “jitters” and “shimmers” in couples’ voices as they speak to each other to determine how happy they are.

For a study published in the journal Proceedings of Interspeech, researchers recorded conversations between 100 couples during marriage counselling sessions over the course of two years.

They then tracked the couples' marital status for another five years.

They found the algorithm could predict serious relationship problems with 79 per cent accuracy - better than relationship experts who conducted therapy sessions.

Dr Shrikanth Narayanan from USC Viterbi, who led the study, 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.”

He also said they studied the impact of what one partner said on the other partner’s emotions.

The team found that studying the couple over a period of time showed how they were really feeling - and that this was more accurate than the “behavioural codes” developed by therapists.

Dr Brian Baucom, from the University of Utah, 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.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in