Interpersonal Relationships in the Modern Age Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program Yeshiva College Yeshiva University May 2020.
Mirroring refers to the conscious or unconscious adaptation of the mannerisms and behavioral
patterns of a person's interaction partner. This study searched texting data for evidence of mirroring, and
found a strong connection between emotion exhibited over text by one party, and the response of
their peer. This was measured by looking at exclamation point usage and emoji use. Additionally, I explored
trends in how communication changes depending on the gender of the two people conversing. When the
two people texting were of opposite genders, formal language increased, whereas when the two
individuals were of the same gender colloquialisms and slang phrases were used. Finally, an attempt
was made at training a machine learning model to predict the relationship between the two parties
conversing. Although the trained model outperformed a baseline model of random guesses, the model's success at
distinguishing between different relationships was underwhelming. A framework for analyzing
WhatsApp data was built with the hope of creating infrastructure that future research projects with
access to increased data could utilize.