This just in! Men talk just as much as women! Thatâ€™s right; thanks to researchers from the University of Arizona, and a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, we can safely put to rest the notion that â€œwomen just donâ€™t know when to shut upâ€.
Apparently, men are just as verbose as the â€œfairer sexâ€.
The idea that women talk more than men is the subject of much western folklore, and has long been considered scientific fact. This idea being so engrained in society that when respected neuropsychiatrist, Louann Brizendine first asserted that women use 20,000 words per day compared to the 7,000 or so used by men in her book, â€œThe Female Brainâ€, no one questioned it. In fact, this erroneous statistic circulated through the media like wild-fire, showing up in such media outlets as CNN, Newsweek, and the Washington Post.
However, you wonâ€™t find this information in later editions, as it was removed due to lack of scientific support. Howâ€™s that for responsible journalism?
In fact, until now, no study has reliably addressed the question of which sex uses more words. A previous attempt to put some kind of quantification to this age old myth revealed that women talk only slightly more than men. Estimates of the number of words spoken by men and women of the British National Corpus were taken from analysis of manual tape recordings. Unfortunately, there was no way to determine when study participants actually turned their tape recorders on and off, so no real information was gained.
But, thanks to a new device developed by Dr. Matthias Mehl and colleagues, subject bias has been largely eliminated. The device, called the electronically activated recorder, or EAR (I have no doubt this clever little acronym is intentional) records ambient noise in 30 second intervals every 12.5 minutes. Wearers of the EAR are unaware of precisely when the EAR is listening, and they are unable to invoke electronic deafness.
Iâ€™ll spare all of you casual readers out there the dry experimental details and statistical analysis. You can read them for yourself here , but it appears that both men and women speak, on average, about 16,000 words per day. Lead author on the study, Dr. Matthias Mehl, concludes by saying, â€œâ€¦that the widespread and highly publicized stereotype about female talkativeness is unfounded.â€
No word on what they plan to do with the EAR nextâ€¦
And, in the spirit of taciturn females everywhere, I will conclude by simply saying that I sure am glad taxpayer money is being so well spent.
Copyright © 2010 Jen
Living Doll II: The Rise of Talkie Telly
Copyright © 2010 Jen
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