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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK
Men 'no less chatty than women'
Woman talking on mobile
The chatty woman may be an unfounded stereotype
The common notion that women are the more talkative sex has been undermined by scientists in the US.

Researchers who bugged 400 students to log their chats found little difference in word count between the sexes.

The University of Arizona study, in Science, conflicts with previous US research suggesting women talk almost three times as much as men.

Whether someone was an introvert or an extrovert was more important, said relationship experts.

The problem is not how much people talk or don't talk, the problem is how well people listen
Paula Hall

In the study, women spoke a daily average of 16,215 words during their waking hours, and men 15,669 words.

The researchers say this difference is not significant.

Lead researcher Matthias Mehl said: "What's a 500-word difference, compared to the 45,000-word difference between the most and the least talkative persons?"

The most talkative man in the study used 47,000 words while the least used a little more than 500 over a few days.

The researchers admit that their findings may not apply to all men as they only studied university students.

Content key

Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist based in the Midlands and spokeswoman for Relate, said her experience working with couples tallied with the results.

"What makes the biggest difference is whether someone is naturally an introvert or an extrovert, not whether they are a man or a woman.

"It's not fair to say men don't talk. Blokes in the pub don't stand around in silence."

She said that in her experience, women complain that men do not talk about the right things.

"The problem is not how much people talk or don't talk, the problem is how well people listen.

"If women listened more we might find men talked more than we thought, and if men listened they might find that women actually don't talk a lot of rubbish all the time. Some of what we say is actually valuable."

Battle of the sexes
23 May 07 |  Magazine

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