Secrets of the Male Mind #1
Men are Just as Talkative as Women
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In 2006, Dr. Louanne Brizendine published “The Female Brain,” which included the provocative statistic that a woman spoke about 20,000 words per day, while a man spoke a mere 7,000 . In studies of male and female brains, researchers have determined that women have more tightly packed neurons on layers of the cortex associated with language [Source: Hotz]. Is it any wonder that women are painted as a chatty, gossipy bunch and men as the tight-lipped, uncommunicative gender?
After “The Female Brain” was published, phonetics professor Mark Liberman published an article in the Boston Globe that pointed out that Brizendine’s source for her statistic was a self-help book authored by a man who’d given many different counts over the years for how many words a woman speaks [Source: Cameron]. Brizendine later removed the statistic from her book since there was a lack of science behind it. When researchers have tried to compare the number of words used by both men and women in the same situation, the differences were negligible [Source: Liberman]. If anything, men talk a little bit more [Source: Cameron].
Despite studies showing that they’re the talkative ones, men persist in thinking that women talk more. On an episode of “Talk of the Nation” on NPR, Deborah Tannen of Georgetown University recalled an anecdote in which a teacher was presented with research that boys spoke more in class. The teacher tried, then, to call on boys and girls equally, to which the boys reacted with anger — why were the girls getting to talk so much more? Despite the fact that she was calling on both genders in equal amounts, boys had the perception that the girls were running the show [Source: NPR].
Men and women may not like to talk about the same things, which is why women perceive that men won’t open up and men think that women are always hounding them. But if the two genders listen to each other, they’ll find that each has plenty to say.