There’s a suspect statistic about women going around the Internet today.
The stat says women speak 20,000 words a day, compared with men, who utter a mere 7,000 words. That might ring true for some, but it comes from a widely criticized (though best-selling) book called “The Female Brain.” It’s a notion that’s been debunked since the book’s release in 2006.
So, why are those figures getting tossed around again?
The 20,000 vs. 7,000 stat has helped color a number of stories this week about new research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine that shows female brains possess more of the “language protein.”
Here’s how Cheryl Sisk, a researcher at Michigan State, explained the study: “The higher levels of Foxp2 expression”—that’s the language protein—”are found in the more communicative sex in each species.” In humans, babies with the larger amount of Foxp2 are girls, according to researchers.
“Girls tend to speak earlier and with greater complexity than boys of the same age,” said the study’s authors.