Walk Like a Lady, Talk Like a Baby

Psychology Today has an interesting piece on how finding love might be as easy as talking to a baby (i.e. VERY easy). It can all be traced back to the way mothers talk to infants, mirroring their sounds. (“If Baby says ‘bah-bah-bah,’ you say, ‘bah-bah-bah’ back.”) This is called “language style matching,” and it helps form a connection between a mom and her baby. Turns out the same thing happens when you’re on a good date! Some researchers analyzed a bunch of speed daters and found:

“[M]en and women that wanted to see each other again matched each other’s function words significantly more often than those that had no interest in each other. Function words are […] the yeses and okays and the pauses and interjections between words. […] The more a couple’s language styles matched, especially the function words, the likelier they were to hit it off. […] Similar-speakers were also significantly more likely to be dating three months later.”

In other words, the more you mirror someone’s way of speaking, the more likely you are to connect with that person and end up together. (Time to start training yourself to mimic the speech patterns of the person you’re obsessed with!) The same holds true for the written word, and the study’s authors have very kindly set up a site where you can enter in correspondence from you and your mate, and they’ll tell you how well you two match up. It’s only a tiny bit scary that your future happiness could be determined by how your Gchats align.

But don’t stop there! A second study found that you can also use baby talk to ensure you two live happily ever after:

“Baby talk helps lovers enhance feelings of mutual intimacy and attachment to each other. Compared to other couples, babytalkers are more secure and less avoidant in romantic relationships. Why? In effect, baby talk, when mutual, is not only a form of language style matching but also a way to reactivate primal circuits of attachment. It taps into the unconditional love of a parent for child.”

What excellent news for everyone that has to spend time around these happy couples! Now instead of “accidentally” spilling salsa on the pair of weirdos who are cooing at the next table over, you can spend your dinner feeling happy that they’ve unlocked the secret to a successful relationship. Thanks, science!

Picture via Flickr