To study the intimate dialogue between romantic partners, psychologists have turned to parsing instant messages. In a new study [pdf], researchers report that the words couples send each other across cyberspace are good indications of relationship health.
The researchers asked 68 dating couples (not surprisingly, the average age was only 19) to submit transcripts of their IMs to each other over a ten day period. The couples were also asked to rate their relationship satisfaction and report six months later whether they were still dating or not.
After analyzing pages upon pages of IM conversations, the team concluded that women who often use the word “I” in IMs are more likely to be in happy, stable relationships. Guys also seem to dig gals who say “I,” reporting greater satisfaction when dating women who referred to themselves in the first person. The researchers explain this correlation with the usual “women tend to be more emotionally expressive.”