Why we mimic some language styles
Washington: New research reveals that people match each other`s language styles more during happier periods of their relationship than at other times, and the phenomenon is called language style matching or LSM.
"When two people start a conversation, they usually begin talking alike within a matter of seconds," said James Pennebaker, psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
"This also happens when people read a book or watch a movie. As soon as the credits roll, they find themselves talking like the author or the central characters," he added.
Pennebaker and Molly E. Ireland found that if a question was asked in a dry, confusing way, the students answered accordingly. If asked in a flighty, ‘Valley girl’ way, the students punctuated their answers with ‘’like,’ ‘sorta’ and ‘kinda.’
The style-matching approach proved to be a powerful bellwether of marriages as well.
"Style words in the spouses`` poems were more similar during happier periods of their relationships and less synchronized toward each relationship``s end," Ireland said.
Ireland and Pennebaker are investigating whether LSM during everyday conversation can be used to predict the beginning and end of romantic relationships.
Style matching has the potential to quickly and easily reveal whether any given pair of people — ranging from business rivals to romantic partners — are psychologically on the same page and what this means for their future together.
The study is published in the September issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.