Will Your Love Last the Test of Time? A.I. May Know

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Graduate Center professors Cheryl Carmichael (GC/Brooklyn, Psychology) and Claudia Brumbaugh (GC/Queens, Psychology) recently joined with 84 other researchers across the globe to try to identify the best predictors of high-quality relationships. The study, detailed in a newly published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to analyze information from more than 11,000 couples and 43 distinct self-reported datasets on romantic couples in an effort tease out what factors are most strongly associated with individuals reporting they were involved in high-quality relationships. 

The strongest predictors of relationship satisfaction, according to the study, are an individual’s belief that their partner is committed to them, appreciation of their partner, sexual satisfaction, belief that their partner is also satisfied in the relationship, and lack of conflict.

“This research starts to answer the question, “What predicts how happy people will be with their significant other?” said Carmichael, who earlier this year received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award to study how nonverbal behavior contributes to relationship quality. “Additional research is needed, but the hope is these finding can ultimately help us design interventions that can assist couples in creating high-quality relationships.” 

The study also offered some surprising findings about the role of personality in determining whether individuals described their relationships as high quality. “While being happier and more securely attached held some sway over whether people were satisfied in their relationships, these personal traits weren’t as important as relationship variables, which were two times more predictive of satisfaction,” said Brumbaugh. 

The team, which was led by researchers at Western University in Ontario, Canada, drew on datasets previously collected by researchers in Canada, the United States, Israel, the Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand. They hope to continue their research by adding data from South America, Asia, and Africa.

Submitted on: AUG 4, 2020

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