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Study: Men Talk Just as Much as Women
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Study: Men Talk Just as Much as Women

Research News


Researchers are blasting another myth, the one that says women are more talkative than men. Their study appears in this week's issue of Science and NPR's Richard Knox has our report.

RICHARD KNOX: The myth is that women just can't help themselves. Matthias Mehl of the University of Arizona paints a stereotypical scene.

Dr. MATTHIAS MEHL (Psychology, University of Arizona): The man comes home from work at night, has used 6,850 words, and with 150 words left over, he just wants to relax and not talk. And the woman welcomes the husband with about 7,856 words left over. And that's where all the problems start.

KNOX: Mehl and his colleagues wired a couple hundred college students with devices that automatically recorded them every twelve and a half minutes. They were surprised to find men and women both utter about 16,000 words a day on average. The chattiest subjects used up to 47,000 a day. And the top three talkers were all men. Mehl says the chatterbox stereotype harms women.

Dr. MEHL: It also puts men into the gender box that in order to be a good male, we better not talk. Silence is golden.

KNOX: The researchers will soon publish another study that looked at what the sexes talk about. No surprise there - women talk more about relationships, men about sports and gadgets.

Richard Knox, NPR News.

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