In a cool new podcast by Adam Grant, he interviews John and Julie Gottman. The two are psychologists who have been studying healthy relationships for over four decades. They co-founded the Gottman Institute, and have written numerous bestselling books together.
They discuss their famous study on predicting divorce rates in the podcast episode. I first thought, “what? Predicting divorce? How is that even possible? Are they using Vedic astrology?” But no, it was a proper study!
They had couples come into their lab and talk about the issues in their marriage, and were able to predict their divorce rates with astonishing accuracy by coding the little signals they sent each other back and forth. They synchronized the video time code to physiological measures from each person, looking at heart rate, how much they sweat from their hands, respiration, blood velocity, gross motor movement, and the emotions that the couples were displaying.
Almost shockingly (to me!), they could account for more than 90% of the variation in what happened to the couple, and could not only predict whether they would stay together or get divorced, but also predict when they would get divorced and how happily married they would be if they stayed together.
Incredible, and so did they have any more insights to offer? More tomorrow…