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November 29, 2006


A study (via CraigC at protein wisdom) says that women talk roughly three times as much as men -- about 20,000 words a day to about 7,000 for men.

In The Female Mind, Dr Luan Brizendine says women devote more brain cells to talking than men.

And, if that wasn't enough, the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high.
If you assume each sex should speak half the words that men and women, combined, speak -- that would be half of 27,000, or 13,500 -- then women speak 48% too much and men speak 52% too little. Try out those figures on your wife the next time she wants to discuss something important with you.

According to the article, boys and men talk less than women and "struggle to express their emotions to the same extent." To use a transportation analogy:
"Women have an eight-lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road," said Dr Brizendine, who runs a female "mood and hormone" clinic in San Francisco.
But Dr. Brizendine suggests that men compensate with a larger brain region devoted to thinking about sex. Who'd have thunk it? But if you do the numbers, you see that the two are connected. Remember that men think about sex every 52 seconds, while women think about it once a day, on average? This translates to 1,662 times a day that men think about sex. Doesn't leave much time for talking, does it?

Dr. Brizendine uses another transportation analogy here:
[T]o put it another way, men have an international airport for dealing with thoughts about sex, "where women have an airfield nearby that lands small and private planes".
In other words, this is what men see when thinking about sex:

And this is what women see:

This is a huge difference in size perception, and it applies to many other areas as well.

Hey, come on, stop snickering! I'm not talking about that. What I mean is that there will always be conversations that go something like this:
Wife: "Do these pants make my butt look like a 747?"

Husband: "No, it's the same Cessna I've always known and loved."
And then, the man will resume his regular thoughts for the next 52 seconds, and the woman will go off to chat on the phone about this with her female friends. After all, she's still got 19,990 words left.