Is it possible to know how much two people are attracted to each other just by the words they use? New research published in Psychological Science suggests yes.

James Pennebaker and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin recorded 40 men and 40 women as they participated in a speed-dating exercise in which they talked to 12 strangers of the opposite sex for four minutes apiece. Later, the subjects rated each date based on how much they seemed to have in common and whether they wanted to see the person again. Pennebaker analyzed the participants’ conversations based on their use of pronouns and articles, such as “him,” “the,” “and,” “as” and “be.”

The results were quite surprising. The couples that used similar function words the same amount of times were more likely to want to see each other again. This raises the interesting question as to whether couples are attracted to each other because they speak in a similar way, or do couples modify their language to sound similar to each other. Pennebakers conclusion was that language ‘predicts relationship success because it reflects how well couples listen to each other’.

[via: Scientific American]