[citation needed]
February 21, 2013 7:12 AM   Subscribe

According to a study women talk more than men. Which study?

During a Today Show segment about FOXP2 they said: New research indicates there’s a biological reason why women talk so much more than men: 20,000 words a day spoken by the average woman, according to one study, versus about 7,000 words a day for the average man.

But I remember this story from NPR. Stating that: The researchers found that women speak a little more than 16,000 words a day. Men speak a little less than 16,000 words. The difference is not statistically significant.

The NPR story cites this article in Science. But I can't find any citation for the Today Show numbers.
posted by zinon to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This one, perhaps?
posted by Grither at 7:13 AM on February 21, 2013

It was picked up by the author of "The Female Brain," which is when the stat got widely distributed. The book was AWFUL in using junk science; the claim was traced to a Cosmo magazine article, I believe, and the author retracted it.
posted by jaguar at 7:17 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: More relevant link. He traces it back to a James Dobson article written without citations in a "Focus on the Family" newsletter in 1993.
posted by jaguar at 7:20 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Actually, men probably talk more than women.
posted by jeather at 7:32 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Women seem to be perceived to be talking more than they do. From the paper Speaker sex and perceived apportionment of talk by Anne Cutlera and Donia R. Scott:

It is a widely held belief that women talk more than men; but experimental evidence has suggested that this belief is mistaken. The present study investigated whether listener bias contributes to this mistake. Dialogues were recorded in mixed-sex and single-sex versions, and male and female listeners judged the proportions of talk contributed to the dialogues by each participant. Female contributions to mixed-sex dialogues were rated as greater than male contributions by both male and female listeners. Female contributions were more likely to be overestimated when they were speaking a dialogue part perceived as probably female than when they were speaking a dialogue part perceived as probably male. It is suggested that the misestimates are due to a complex of factors that may involve both perceptual effects such as misjudgment of rates of speech and sociological effects such as attitudes to social roles and perception of power relations. Paper
posted by meijusa at 7:56 AM on February 21, 2013 [9 favorites]

There's a book that came out this year called The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us that tackles some of that stuff, if you're interested in reading more.
posted by lovableiago at 8:18 AM on February 21, 2013

Best answer: Language Log has a new post on the subject, including a citation of this page.
posted by dfan at 6:38 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

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