July 10th, 2007 by Nina Atwood
The latest study on interpersonal communication refutes the old stereotype of women as chatterboxes and men as silent and strong. A U.T. Austin research team recorded conversations of university students in a variety of settings and determined that femals spoke an average of 16,215 words per day while males spoke an average of 15,669 words per day, basically a dead heat. This is the first study of its kind, so it doesn’t address a myriad of questions, such as whether or not this proprotion of talk holds up as people age.
It turns out that there’s never been any real science behind the idea that women talk more than men. However, it has been shown that women spend more time talking about their relationships, primarily romantic or spousal, than men. This makes sense, as women for thousands of years had to focus on understanding the most critical relationship to their survival – that with their mates.
Currently there are few studies on the difference between men’s and women’s degree of talking in certain contexts. For instance, in a work context, past research shows that men talk far more than women. But what about the emotional context of communication? Most of the stereotypes about men and women in communication revolve around how men seem to clam up during relationship conflict while women become frustrated by that. In tomorrow’s post we’ll look at the differences between men’s and women’s reactions during conflict.
Entry Filed under: Communication