| GEO Health|
| Word game to tell length of relationship|
| Updated at: 1146 PST, Saturday, July 10, 2010|
NEW YORK: Scientists have devised a new psychological test which they claim can predict whether or not a romantic relationship will last.
The study by researchers at the University of Rochester involves a word association task -- often employed to assess racism and bias -- that can reveal what partners really think about each other, even if they don't realise it.
Earlier studies that focused on directly asking couples how they feel about one another have shown that people are often unable or reluctant to express their true feelings about their partners.
"But the difficulty with that is, that assumes that they know themselves how happy they are, and that's not always the case," said study researcher Ronald D Rogge.
"To make things worse, a lot of people don't want to tell you if they're starting to feel less happy in their relationship," he was quoted as saying by the LiveScience.
They watched a monitor as three types of words were presented one at a time – good words (like peace, vacation, or sharing), bad words (such as death, tragedy, and criticizing), and partner-related words (names or traits).
Results showed that those who found it easy to associate their partner with bad things and difficult to associate the partner with good things were more likely to separate over the next year.
"It really is giving us a unique glimpse into how people were feeling about their partners – giving us information that they were unable or unwilling to report," says Rogge.
The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.