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Aug 09, 2014 07:12 AM EDT

Women tend to be More Talkative Only in Certain Situations, Study


A Northeastern University study found that the common stereotype suggesting women talk and gossip more than men is only applicable in certain situations. The researchers said that the context of the conversations and group size largely influences women to be involved in long gossip sessions than men.

For the study, the researchers used sociameters to collect real-​time data about the participants' social interactions. The small wearable devices that track conversation frequency and rate were worn for 12 hours by participants from two different social settings.

In the first setting, master's degree candidates were asked to com­plete a project; during which they were allowed to converse with one another for 12​​hours a day. In the second setting, call center employees wore the sociome­ters during 12 one-​​hour lunch breaks without any specified tasks.

The researchers found that women were only slightly more likely than men to converse during the lunch-​​break settings involving both long and short-​​duration talks. In the academic setting, which would have necessitated collaboration around the task, women were more likely to participate in long conversations than men. It also holds true for shorter conversations, but only to a lesser degree.

These findings were applicable to small groups of talkers. When a group comprised of six or more participants, men were found to be more talkative than women.

"In the one set­ting that is more col­lab­o­ra­tive we see the women choosing to work together, and when you work together you tend to talk more," Researcher David Lazersaid Lazer said in a statement. "So it's a very par­tic­ular sce­nario that leads to more inter­ac­tions. The real story here is there's an inter­play between the set­ting and gender which cre­ated this difference."

The finding is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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