Study: Women don't talk more than men

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Updated 2:12 PM ET July 5, 2007

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID

WASHINGTON (AP) - Another stereotype _ chatty gals and taciturn guys _ bites the dust. Turns out, when you actually count the words, there isn't much difference between the sexes when it comes to talking.

A team led by Matthias R. Mehl, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, came up with the finding, which is published in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The researchers placed microphones on 396 college students for periods ranging from two to 10 days, sampled their conversations and calculated how many words they used in the course of a day.

The score: Women, 16,215. Men, 15,669.

The difference: 546 words: "Not statistically significant," say the researchers.

"What's a 500-word difference, compared with the 45,000-word difference between the most and the least talkative persons" in the study, said Mehl.

Co-author James W. Pennebaker, chairman of the psychology department at the University of Texas, said the researchers collected the recordings as part of a larger project to understand how people are affected when they talk about emotional experiences.
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They were surprised when a magazine article asserted that women use an average of 20,000 words per day compared with 7,000 for men. If there had been that big a difference, he thought, they should have noticed it.

They found that the 20,000-7,000 figures have been used in popular books and magazines for years. But they couldn't find any research supporting them.

"Although many people believe the stereotypes of females as talkative and males as reticent, there is no large-scale study that systematically has recorded the natural conversations of large groups of people for extended periods of time," Pennebaker said.

Indeed, Mehl said, one study they found, done in workplaces, showed men talking more.

Still, the idea that women use nearly three times as many words a day as men has taken on the status of an "urban legend," he said.

"We realized we had the data," Mehl said in a telephone interview, so they went back to their recordings and calculated the actual numbers.

Their research began with one group of students in 1998, two groups sampled in 2001, two in 2003 and a final group in 2004. One of the 2003 groups involved 51 students in Mexico, the rest were all in the United States.

The students were fitted with unobtrusive recorders that sampled their conversations _ the students didn't know when the recorders were on. From the samples, a total number of words for the day could be calculated.

Of the six groups sampled, women used more words than men in three and men used more words than women in the other three, including the one in Mexico.

The research was limited to college students, but Pennebaker said he believes it would probably apply to others in the same age range.

"The question is, how it applies to people as we get older," he said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Mehl said he thinks it should apply across age groups, but he wondered how it would be affected by different cultures.

___

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MrsWildweasel

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Hey, Hey, you get a bunch of guys sitting around talking and telling tall tales and YOU GUYS are worse than women sometimes.[wink][laugh]
 

Scrivener

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Mere volume is not the critical criterion. QUALITY of information is.

The category in which men, of course, excel......

No brag; just fact.
 
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546 a day avarage right? lets just round that down to a even 500 to give the women some wiggle room ok.

so in the course of a year thats 182,500
no assuming these college women are around 20 years old lets add 50 becuase they might slow down when they reach those years

so in the average time between 20 and 70 they talk 9125000 thats over 9 million more words then men. in 50 years. Now the kicker

men talk about 15,669 a day right so you take that times 1.5 years you get about 8.5 million what that means is when a man and a women reach about 70 if the women remained silent for a full year and a half the guy could barely catchup.
 
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jkelly

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They were surprised when a magazine article asserted that women use an average of 20,000 words per day compared with 7,000 for men. If there had been that big a difference, he thought, they should have noticed it.
You see the error in this is that they are talking about the number of different words, not the number of total words.

While both sexes use about 20,000 words per day men used f*ck, f*cked, and especially f*cking approximately 13,000 times a day but they only count as three words in the study.

Also while woman used 20,000 words a day they were seen to use multiple synonyms for words such as: lazy, stupid, fat, stinking, small and worthless.


Now you know the rest of the story. :)


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jkelly
 

jkelly

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Women talk more, men masturbate more.---SiameseRat
In jealousy there is more self-love than love. ~François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, 1665 :)

Editted to add a smile.


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jkelly
 
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MrsWildweasel

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Nah, nah, nah, I see plenty of guys on cell phones. When I worked at Big Y it was the guys on the cell phone that couldn't detach long enough for me to help them.[thinking]
 

KMaurer

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Over the past 35 years or so I've been involved in numerous research projects in medical and public health fields. During the preliminaries of these studies we always take a careful look at all the existing literature on the topic under investigation. In almost every case, we've come across little bits of wisdom that essentially every physician or expert in the field believes to be true, but for which there's either not a single bit of supporting empirical evidence or only a single, poorly designed study using a dozen or so subjects. In some instances, I've run across recent studies by some grad candidate, who apparently missed the lectures in which such wisdom was imparted, and, lacking a good advisor to warn him or her off, performed a good study which showed them to be completely, shall we say, counter-factual. Why would anyone ever expect that many "great truths" from sociology or psychology should be any more grounded in reality?

Ken
 

jkelly

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Why would anyone ever expect that many "great truths" from sociology or psychology should be any more grounded in reality?---Kmaurer
Sociology and Psychology are so much more complicated and so less controllable then the hard sciences seem to be.


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jkelly
 
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