You’ve probably heard the claim that women talk about three times more than men. The figures cited most often, that women speak about 20,000 words a day and men about 7,000 words a day, come from Dr. Louann Brizendine’s book The Female Brain. While it may be true in my house, Science magazine published a study debunking Brizendine’s findings in its July 6 issue. The study involved 396 university students between 1998 and 2004, 210 women and 186 men, who wore an electronically activated recorder (EAR) that sampled 30 seconds of ambient sound every 12.5 minutes. Participants were not aware when the EAR was recording and could not alter its contents. The researchers found that men spoke an average of 15,669 words a day, women an average of 16,215 words a day. The most common phrases for men? “In a minute, after this [inning/quarter/drive/period],” “Huh? Did you say something?”, and “Of course I’ll call you.” The most common phrases from women were “This room is freezing! Close that window!”, “Why don’t you stop and ask someone?”, and “No, it’s your turn.”
Just kidding about that last part! However, as reported in Scientific American the study did find that women tend to talk more about other people, while men talk more about concrete objects.