A computer algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) analyzes the behavior of couples in order to determine if their relationship will improve or end in a breakup. According to a press release from the school, the program was able to accurately predict a couple’s marital success rate with 79 percent accuracy based solely on tone of voice.
The algorithm analyzed “hundreds of conversations from over one hundred couples taken during marriage therapy sessions over two years.” The progress of the couples was then tracked for five more years. Based on criteria such as pitch, intensity, jitter, shimmer, and other factors that “indicate moments of high emotion,” the program outperformed “relationship experts” who gave notes on the same sessions.
“What you say is not the only thing that matters,” said Md Nasir, a doctoral student who worked on the study. “It’s very important how you say it. Our study confirms that it holds for a couple’s relationship as well.”
Researchers involved in creating the algorithm hope to further improve its accuracy by adding new elements such a body language to the mix.