Scientists have developed wearable tech to prevent couples from fighting
Conflict is something the majority of couples face from time to time
It is normal not to agree 100 percent on things the whole time, and being able to fight (fair) about things (and then make up again) shows that you are two people with two opinions in this relationship, and you are both comfortable not only expressing an opinion that might vary from that of your partner but also feel safe enough in your relationship to know that it can withstand the odd squabble.
However, sometimes it would be nice to have some kind of warning system in place, no? A way of telling if your partner or spouse has had a crap day and could be about to start a fight with you over something rather silly and avoidable? Well, now there is. At least, Researchers at the University of Southern California think they might have invented just that.
According to a recent study by a team from USC, it is possible for “passive modal computing” (read: wearable tech, basically) to monitor, gather, and analyse data from your body – to detect when you’re stressed, anxious, or sad. Having established that, the researchers developed algorithms to define these emotions and collected data from participants like body temperature, heart activity, sweat, audio recordings, what the participants’ were saying, and their vocal intensity through wearables, cell phones, and physiological signals.
To test their idea, the researchers then analysed couples using the data while simultaneously having the couples self-report on their emotions and actions when conflict within the relationship occurred. The result? The authors found that their algorithm was 86 percent accurate in its ability to detect the conflict – and by predict it, the idea is that you can now be better prepared to avoid it altogether.
This is what lead author and psychology PhD student, Adela C. Timmons, had to say about her team's work:
“The eventual goal [is to] develop interventions to improve couple functioning.” In other words, the authors believe they can create tech to alert both you and your partner when there’s a high probability for a disagreement. So if you’ve had a bad day at work (and are showing all the physiological signals of conflict), the tech could send your partner a text advising them to be respectful of your space when you arrive home.
Or, you know, it could set off an alarm suggesting you meditate for 10 minutes before heading home – so that you are not all riled up and dying for a good scrap by the time you meet up with your other half again.