Who among us hasn't been whacked with the stereotype of women out-talking men? At last, a new study, reported today in Science, reveals that actually, the verbal output of the sexes is just about equal, which, in my mind, means that men should quit whining and admit they are just as gabby.
One oft-cited statistic, whose origins are shrouded in the mists of time, has it that the average woman utters 20,000 words a day, compared to only 7000 issuing from the laconic male. But until now, there has been "no large-scale study that systematically has recorded the natural conversations of large groups of people for [an] extended period of time,” says psychologist James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin...Pennebaker says the findings, appearing in today's issue of Science, should put the myths to rest: Both men and women averaged roughly 16,000 words a day.
"At this point, the only remaining scientific question appears to be why so many intelligent and well-educated people have so easily--even eagerly--accepted and spread what appear to be fabricated numbers supporting a false generalization," says linguistics professor Mark Liberman of the University of Pennsylvania.
And now, both men and women, feel free to go about your gabbing.