The AP is reporting on a study to see who talks more, men or women. It is pretty obvious that this is pointless right off the bat, because we’re speaking about generalities which aren’t all that helpful anyway. But once we understand the parameters of the study it becomes far less useful. The researchers based their findings on a whopping 396 college students, each of whom wore a recorder that was turned on at random.
The questions any reader should ask are
- Is a group of 396 college students a large and diverse enough group to prove anything about an entire gender?
- Did wearing a microphone that could be on at any given moment change how the college students talked?
- Do I really believe a random magazine article that says women talk almost twice as much as men in the first place and do I even care if reliable research reports one gender as a whole talks a little more than another?
The fact is that some women are very talkative and that some men are just as talkative. Conversely, some men don’t say much and some women say just as little. The only thing this study reinforces is that many studies tend to over generalize.