Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The worst possible Double Date

Is there any trace of contempt here?

There is a man in Seattle who can predict divorce with a 95% accuracy rate! Seriously, this man is a psychologist at the University of Washington and he can predict divorce using a coding system. He assigns a number to a facial expression that a couple might express during a conversation.
Disgust gets a 1, contempt gets a 2, anger gets a 7 defensiveness gets a 10, whining gets an 11, sadness gets a 12, stonewalling gets a 14 and neutral gets a 14. After observing this couple for 1 hour he can predict with 95% accuracy whether that couple will still be married in 15 years. If he watches the couple for 15 minutes. his success rate is still around 90%, then he discovered that he can still remain fairly accurate with only 3 minutes of watching a couple talk! 3 MINUTES! Like I said in the title of this post, I don't want to go out on a double date with this guy and his wife,...or do I?

This man, Dr. Gottman, says that he has gotten so good at this that he can be in a restaurant and eavesdrop on the couple one table over and get a pretty good sense of whether the couple should start hiring lawyers and dividing up assets. He says that if he narrows in on one single emotion than he can really tell if the marriage in in trouble, that emotion is CONTEMPT. He says that contempt can even predict things like how many colds a husband or wife will get, because having contempt thrown at you is so stressful that it begins to affect your immune system. In case you are wondering how he defines contempt, well he says it is closely related to disgust and it is about rejecting someone from your community and it is hierarchical.

So as I make plans for Valentines Day, and I have, I made reservations at a French restaurant downtown, I will make sure that our conversation is completely devoid of contempt and disgust.


JAG said...


What number does sarcasm get?

Mark and Karen said...

Wow...I'm not sure I'd want to double date with this guy either. Good luck with your Valentine's evening. It might be a hard one to pull off. he he

jwise said...

Wow! I agree--this guy probably never gets friends to go out with him! ha But I can totally believe his ability to predict based on those criteria. Mmm... enjoy the French restaurant! Have a happy valentine's day!