08/29/2013 03:57 pm ET Updated Aug 29, 2013

Spouse's Voice Is Easier To Hear Than Unfamiliar Voices, Study Finds


According to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science, people perceive their spouse’s voice more clearly than other unfamiliar voices.

Researchers, including Ingrid Johnsrude of Queen’s University in Canada, asked married couples between the ages of 44 and 79 to record themselves reading a script. Then, each participant listened to their partner's recording, as it played simultaneously with a recording of an unfamiliar voice of the same age and gender.

In some instances, they asked the participant to report what the spouse was saying and in others, they asked them to report what the unfamiliar voice was saying.

They found that the subjects performed better at accurately perceiving their spouse's voice over the unfamiliar one.

But when the subjects were asked to focus in on the unfamiliar voice, researchers found that their age came into play. Middle-aged participants were able to more successfully tune out their spouse's voice than the older people in the study.

“The middle-aged adults were able to use what they knew about the familiar voice to perceptually separate and ignore it, so as to hear the unfamiliar voice better,” Johnsrude explained in a press release. She continued, "Middle-age people can ignore their spouse -- older people aren’t able to as much."

Click through the slideshow below for more interesting findings about marriage.

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