Have Researchers Found The Key To Attraction?


Language researchers have found that people who use similar phrases are more likely to fall for each other.

Molly Ireland, a visiting assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Department of Psychology, found that those who use the same “function words” are more compatible.

Function words include personal pronouns such as he, she, it, articles such as “a” “an” or “the” and conjunctions such as and, or, but and nor.

Ireland said: “Conversations between romantic partners make up some of the most important dialogue in most adults’ lives.

“Romantic relationships have a huge influence on our health and well-being, and I think that conversation is a big part of what makes those relationships succeed or fail at every stage – from first dates to marriages.”

For the study, the team analysed the language of 40 speed dates between men and women.

They found a positive correlation between similar use of function words, and odds of going on a second date, or existing couples being together three months after the study.

The Texas researchers also found that “language similarity predicted relationship stability above and beyond other variables”, such as perceived similarity, relationship quality and how many words were spoken on a date.

Ireland and her team believe that language style, above content, shows evidence of giving attention to your date partner.

She said: “It’s easy in relationships or on dates to focus on superficial things like your own appearance or the topics your partner is talking about.

“But the fact is that most first dates have pretty similar content. People talk about their likes and dislikes — music, hobbies and majors for college students. 

“None of that really matters though if you’re not paying attention to each other or adopting similar mindsets.”

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

Global Dating Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769