Forumla Shows Which Couples Will Divorce

Are They Gonna Get Divorced? Do the Math
It All Adds Up: Math­e­mat­i­cal Mod­el Shows Which Cou­ples Will Divorce –Source: News­wise, Feb­ru­ary 12, 2004. “There are no gen­er­al laws of human rela­tion­ships as there are for physics, but a lead­ing mar­i­tal researcher and group of applied math­e­mati­cians have teamed up to cre­ate a math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el that pre­dicts which cou­ples will divorce with aston­ish­ing accu­ra­cy. The mod­el holds promise of giv­ing ther­a­pists new tools for help­ing cou­ples over­come pat­terns of inter­ac­tion that can send them rush­ing down the road toward divorce. Psy­chol­o­gist John Gottman and applied math­e­mati­cians James D. Mur­ray and Kristin Swan­son will describe how the mod­el was devel­oped and how it enables Gottman to pre­dict with 94 per­cent accu­ra­cy which cou­ples will divorce after view­ing just the first few moments of a con­ver­sa­tion about an area of mar­tial con­tention. They will dis­cuss their work today at a press brief­ing dur­ing the annu­al meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence in Seattle.”


The key turned out to be quan­ti­fy­ing the ratio of pos­i­tive to neg­a­tive inter­ac­tions dur­ing the talk. The mag­ic ratio is 5 to 1, and a mar­riage can be in trou­ble when it falls below this. The math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el charts this inter­ac­tion into what the researchers call a “Dow-Jones Indus­tri­al Aver­age for mar­i­tal conversation.”

“When the mas­ters of mar­riage are talk­ing about some­thing impor­tant, they may be argu­ing, but they are also laugh­ing and teas­ing and there are signs of affec­tion because they have made emo­tion­al con­nec­tions,” Gottman said. “But a lot of peo­ple don’t know how to con­nect or how to build a sense of humor, and this means a lot of fight­ing that cou­ples engage in is a fail­ure to make emo­tion­al con­nec­tions. We would­n’t have known this with­out the math­e­mat­i­cal model.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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