Picture it: You're dating a man who's articulate enough, but in the past couple of days he's been especially witty. Has he been hiding his verbal prowess from you? Why has he suddenly upped his linguistic game? According to a recent study, it may have less to do with him than with you, your menstrual cycle specifically.
In research published on February 8th in the journal PLoS ONE, Jacqueline M. Coyle and Michael P. Kaschak found that men's linguistic patterns are affected by a woman's fertility. While previous research on speech patterns between romantic partners has found high levels of linguistic matching (speaking in the same way) between individuals who are attracted to each other, this study revealed something different. Coyle and Kaschak discovered that fertility -- not just attraction -- impacts the way men choose to speak. Though one might have expected men to mimic women's style of talking to a greater extent when the women are most fertile, the result was exactly the opposite.
Coyle and Kaschak studied 123 male college students from Florida State University in their first experiment. They observed these men speaking with five young women at different points in their menstrual cycles. The researchers found that when the women were the most fertile, the men they were speaking to were less likely mimic the women's sentence structure -- 49.7 percent of the time vs. 62 percent of the time when the women were least fertile, The Conversation reported. When conducting a similar experiment on women (though this time only using 47 college-aged subjects), no such noteworthy changes in linguistic matching were found.
Though it is unclear what the motivation is behind this subconscious change in speech patterns, Dr. Kaschak has some ideas. One is that men may use varied sentence structures in order to stand out to a woman. "Being creative is a way of showing one's mental acumen," Kaschak told The Conversation. "Non-aligning sentence structures may be used as a way of showing creativity or non-conformity so that you can stand out a bit."
So, are you more attracted to a man who can mix up his syntax? Let us know if you have any linguistic turn-ons.