Women Talk More than Men

Several books (including the Female Brain) claim that women talk MUCH more than men do (on the order of 2 or 3 times as much). This claim was put to the test by the Boston Globe -

Boston Globe - Women Talk Less than Men

"According to a 1993 review of the scientific literature by researchers Deborah James and Janice Drakich, ``Most studies reported either that men talked more than women, either overall or in some circumstances, or that there was no difference between the genders in amount of talk." The research since that review, including counts from my own research, follows the same pattern."

In my own life, the men I interact with talk JUST as much as the women do - and in many cases talk much more than the women do. I am sure that there are quiet men out there - but I am also sure that there are quiet women out there.

Even thinking of TV shows I watch, they have equal dialogue for men and women. You would think of our entire culture was about women who talked a lot and men who were silent that TV and movies would reflect that ...

Here's another study, by Science, in 2007 that used an audio recorder to prove it. Both genders talk equally.

Science and Talking

The same study is discussed by NPR -

NRP on Women vs Men Talking

"Psychologist Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona says the three top talkers in the study - uttering up to 47,000 words a day - were all men. So was the most taciturn subject, who spoke only 700 words a day, on average."

NPR even quotes the Female Brain -

"The claim got prominent attention with the publication of a 2006 book called The Female Brain. Its author, Louann Brizendine, has been widely quoted claiming that "a woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000.""

Even better is the Washington Post article where Louann admits she didn't have any research to back up her claims -

Washington Post on Women vs Men Talking

"The notion that women talk more was reinforced last year when Louann Brizendine's "The Female Brain" cited the finding that women utter, on average, 20,000 words a day, men 7,000. (Brizendine later disavowed the statistic, as there was no study to back it up.)"

An easy way to count talking is to count cell phone minutes! For five years running, Cingular has said that men talk 35% more on their phones than women do!

Cingular Male vs Female Phone Talking

Finally, Louann Brizendine has finally admitted that she didn't have any research for her claim, and has now removed the claim from her book -

Wikipedia on Louann Brizendine

"Academic feminists have given mixed reviews to "The Female Brain". She was given the tongue-in-cheek 2006 Becky Award, which is given to "people or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation." She was given this award in recognition of one sentence of her book, The Female Brain, which was removed in future printings. In this sentence of the book she contrasted how many words a woman and a man use in one day, and "It turns out that the figures Brizendine reported had been taken from a book by a self-help guru" which were shown to be incorrect."

Another test with a pair of reporters, again showing that men and women talk equally.

Guardian UK Reporter Test

Forum Discussion on Men vs Women Talking

The Female Brain - Louann Brizendine

Lisa's Biology Pages