Who talks more, men or women?

If you answered “women,” you need to read this.

This topic is of ongoing interest at Mark Liberman’s Language Log blog; as he notes here:

There certainly are psychological and neurological differences between men and women, sometimes big ones. But even when they aren’t promoting their ideas on the basis of “facts” that are apparently false, authors like Sax and Brizendine use a set of rhetorical tricks that tend to make sex differences seem bigger and more consequential than they really are.

Sax is Leonard Sax; he wrote Why Gender Matters, which posits that men are “emotional children;” Louann Brizendine wrote The Female Brain, which asserts a slew of biologically-based differences between the brains of human males and females.

[tags] gender differences [/tags]

This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Who talks more, men or women?

  1. Kirsten,

    Surely you, of all people, saw the fundamental flaw in this, right?

    This study measured WORD COUNT in particular conversations. What should have been included is a study of the NUMBER of such conversations participated in daily by men vs. women. If each gender uses approximately the same number of words in a given conversation, but the women (you KNOW this is true) conduct at least five times as many such conversations, on average, on any given day… Well THAT’s a measure of “who talks more.”

    (Stereotypical tongue is firmly planted in my stereotypical cheek, lest this cause offense.)


  2. Kirsten says:


    I’d respond but I’ve talked enough today already :-D

  3. Jaqualine says:

    Funny that I find this article at this time. I am a college student doing a paper on who talks more. By technicality Women do talk more, but only because Women tend to talk in more detail about things. Women tend to no only tell that they were at their friends house, but they will go into detail painting a picture with words of their surroundings. Men will just say they were at their friend’s house.
    Men talk just as much, only not in as many words. Is it reasonable to say that the basis of HOW MANY words spoken in a conversation is irrelevant?

  4. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for commenting, Jaqualine.

    What Mark Liberman says is that he can find no research documenting that women talk more than men.

    I’ll bet he’d love to hear from you if you have come across any studies that support that assertion.

    Incidentally, ever since I read this, I’ve been noticing how much men talk. In fact, I’ve noticed that sometimes if I sit back and listen, men will sometimes really go on nonstop for quite awhile. Pretty incredible, actually. It’s certainly made me question one of my presuppositions.

Comments are closed.