Are Men as Talkative as Women?
16 Jul, 2007 02:51 pm
Yes, according to a USA Today article on a study that says that both sexes speak about 16,000 words a day.
Research out today contradicts that stereotype. Both sexes say about 16,000 words a day, a study in Science magazine says.
"It's been a common belief, but it just didn't fit," says co-author James Pennebaker, psychology department chairman at the University of Texas-Austin.
He and colleagues analyzed conversations recorded from 1998 to 2004 of 396 students in the USA and Mexico, 210 women and 186 men, ages 18-29. The study examined word count, not vocabulary or word use. Pennebaker says two-thirds of participants spoke 11,000 to 25,000 words a day; the average for both sexes was about 16,000.
The finding may seem surprising in a culture in which women are often stereotyped as talkative and men as uncommunicative.
Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine cited the 20,000-vs.-7,000 comparison in her 2006 book The Female Brain as evidence for gender brain differences. After the book came out in August, the statistic was widely quoted.
A linguistics professor says that previous studies have focused on phone conversations and interview transcripts, rather than daily life. If you just look around at the sheer number of women on cell phones chatting with friends, it is no wonder it seems women are the chattier sex. And interviewing some guys is like pulling teeth to get them talking. Phones and interviews may not be a good fit to get men talking. It's like saying that women don't talk as much at sports events and beer drinking contests. So next time you think that men don't communicate and thrive on being the strong silent type, just remember that perhaps the context is the problem, not the fact that they are uncommunicative.
Matthias R. Mehl, et al, Are Women Really More Talkative Than Men?, Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317.
Sharon Jayson, Men, women are equal — talkers, USA Today, 6 July 2007
Originally posted at Dr Helen