Gut instinct is key to a lasting marriage
Couples about to tie the knot may be wise to listen to their intuition before walking down the aisle, research suggests.
A study has found that even at a subconscious level, lurking doubts at the start of a marriage are a good indicator of a less-than-blissful future.
Psychologists conducted tests on 135 couples who had been married for less than six months, then checked their progress over a four-year period.
They found that the feelings participants expressed verbally about their marriages had little bearing on their later happiness. Instead, it was their inner "gut-feelings" -- only revealed by the tests -- that counted.
The US study was based on the premise that emotions buried under the surface still affect people's physical responses, which can be measured in the laboratory.
In the experiment, photos of volunteers' spouses were flashed on a computer screen for just a third of a second, followed by a positive word such as 'awesome' or 'terrific', or a negative one such as 'awful' or 'terrible'.
Participants simply had to press a key to indicate whether the word they were seeing was positive or negative.
"It's generally an easy task, but flashing a picture of their spouse makes people faster or slower depending on their automatic attitude toward the spouse," said lead researcher Dr James McNulty, from Florida State University.
"People who have really positive feelings about their partners are very quick to indicate that words like 'awesome' are positive words and very slow to indicate that words like 'awful' are negative words."