Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No They Don't!!

Do women talk more than men?

Stereotypes tell that they sure do!!

Read the following account of researcers and you will know the truth!!

Now get this: "A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7000".

Last time I began with discussing this, and other wild claims stating that women talk more than men. Let me quote a few more examples.

Ladies Golf Journey carried an article by Debbie Waitkus, in which she wrote: "Women speak an average of 30,000 words a day, an average of 12,000 a day for men."

And Louann Brizendine wrote in her 2006 book, The Female Brain the exact quote I mentioned before: "A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7000".

Her book was roundly criticised in the science journal, Nature. The reviewers of her book wrote: "The Female Brain disappointingly fails to meet even the most basic standards of scientific accuracy and balance. The book is riddled with scientific errors." And: "The text is rife with 'facts' that do not exist in the supporting references."

To Louann Brizendine's credit, when this criticism of her gender word-count numbers was brought to her attention, she said that she had relied on the advice of others, and promised to remove these numbers from future editions of her book.

Of course, fake numbers lead to silly theories.

A whole bunch of 'theories' have been put forth to explain this purported difference between the amount women speak compared with men.

One particularly ludicrous explanation is that men, as proud hunters, had to learn to stand still silently for hours while tracking their next meal, while women, as gatherers, would talk 19 to the dozen with their fellow female gatherers as they picked berries.

But, from what we see of hunter-gatherers in the past and present, hunting took up very little time, and both genders gathered fruit and vegies.

But all this time, there was research that tells us there is no significant gender difference in the number of words spoken.

And this is not brand new research, this was known back in 1993!

Deborah James and Janice Drakich wrote in their article Understanding Gender Differences in Amount of Talk: A Critical Review of Research, that: "It is shown that the widely held belief that women talk more than men is unsupported in the literature."

In 2006, Janet Hyde, a psychologist from the University of Wisconsin wrote a paper called The Gender Similarities Hypothesis.

This was in direct response to the many books on pop pseudo-psychology that claim there are major psychological differences between the genders.

These books assert that there are so many differences between how men and women speak, they may as well be different species.

But Dr Hyde was not an author, who was prepared to write anything to get a bestseller. No, Dr Hyde was a psychologist, and had simply been unable to find these supposed major gender differences.

She analysed 47 peer-reviewed psychological surveys. Overall, women seemed to be 0.11 per cent more talkative than men.

One tenth of one percent is so small, that averaged out over the 47 studies, it was not even statistically significant.

And more recent research in 2007 backs this up. Over six years, Matthias R. Mehl and his team wired up six separate groups of 17–30 year-old university students, five groups in Texas, and one in Mexico.

There were 396 students in all; 210 female and 186 male.

The tape recorders monitored them for periods ranging from four to ten days. The results were so close as to be statistically identical.

Women spoke 16,215 words against the men's average of 15,669. That 500-word difference was tiny compared to the difference between the most talkative and least talkative males (45,000 words).

And yes, the most talkative person was a male, with 47,000 words.

So, the research that's been done shows that with regard to the number of words spoken by men and women, there's no difference. Or, if there is a difference, it's microscopic.

But the popular pseudo-psychology 'gender-difference and relationship self-help' genre of books claims that women speak at least twice as many words as men.

So, just where did the authors of these books get their information from? Probably from talking to the wrong guy.

I confess, I talk more than my wife!!

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