Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Men, Blah, Blah, Women, Blah, Blah, Talking, Blah, Blah

Another example of the different ways Men and Women communicate.

That women talk more that men is another example of gender stereotypes that form our view of either sex. However a group of scientists decided to test the theory and they came out with the study showing that men talk just as much as women. But, does counting average number of words spoken really tell the whole story? Deborah Tannen isn't so sure. It's all in the way we use words, and the situations that we use words, she says.

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.) Mehl and his colleagues outfitted 396 college students with devices that recorded their speech. The female subjects spoke an average of 16,215 words a day, the men 15,669. The difference is insignificant. Case closed.

Another study found that counting words yielded no consistent differences, though number of words per speaking turn did (Men, on average, used more).

The "how was your day?" conversation typifies the kind of talk women tend to do more of: spoken to intimates and focusing on personal experience, your own or others'. I call this "rapport-talk." It contrasts with "report-talk" -- giving or exchanging information about impersonal topics, which men tend to do more.

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