So, men talk about the same amount as women. At least, according to this study. It indicated that after six different experiments with miking a total of 396 college students, there was no statistical difference in the amount of chatter between men and women. It brought to mind some questions:
- Are college-age kids a reasonable study group to allow extrapolation to the general population?
- Is there a difference between talking and conversation? More directly, will this study do anything to dispel the stereotype of the gabbing woman?
- Does the fact that this study was published in the journal Science make it any more (or less) reputable than the previous anecdotal and unreferenced evidence that women talk three times as much as men?
- Will the (supposed) urban legend that women talk more than men continue to have legs?
- If we compared the number of cell phone minutes that women use, versus men, would we get roughly the same results?
What was interesting was that this observation about equal talk time for men and women was an unintended consequence of a larger study to understand how an individual’s conversation is affected by emotional experiences.
We don’t talk enough. Or perhaps we talk enough but don’t listen enough.
As a global community we would get along better if we all talked and listened more to each other. Writing (especially emailing), leaving phone messages and leaving propaganda to rile a crowd are all examples of one-sided communications, sure to inflame tensions if the emotional context is unclear. We seem to be real good at this. We need work on understanding each other more closely.