Not in this house.
Your experience may vary.
Usual caveats about articles like this. They're feature stories not science reporting. The writers aren't interested in the studies and methodologies under discussion, only in the conclusions if they are controversial enough. The point is to stir up trouble, get people...talking, and to get lazy bloggers with sinus headaches typing quick and easy posts with the same point.
Who is this psychologist? What credentials or publications are on his or her CV? Does she or he have a Ph.D? Is he or she on the faculty or visiting? A full professor? Tenured? What studies did she or he review? (And you'll notice how careful the reporter has been not to reveal whether Campbell Leaper is a she or a he. He's a he. I Googled. He's a Ph.D. and a professor.) What was the point of the research? Was there a hypothesis being tested or a book being written? We're giving nothing that would help us judge the validity, or the plausibility, of Leaper's conclusions, because that's all tangential.
The focus is on challenging the conventional wisdom that women are the gabbier sex.
Men yak more.
To which thousands of men reflexively respond, "Not in this house," and we're off.
Our sense that women are chattier than men is a self-reinforcing stereotype. The presumption that women yammer on and on about every little thought that pops into their heads, gossiping incessantly, and always and annoyingly attempting to force conversations about "feelings" while men are emotionally constipated types, naturally taciturn, satisfied to communicate through grunts and rude gestures gets cheap laughs on sitcoms in which the male leads have three times as many lines as their female co-stars.
Whatever "evidence" people have from their actual lives that one or the other genders is naturally more gregarious is most likely just a description of what life is like in their homes or was like in the house where they grew up, and it's probably true that in most homes in America the wife does more talking than the husband (I'm including gay couples in which there is a "wife" and "husband" and unmarried straight and gay couples in which the roles of "husband" and "wife" are usually adopted to some degree, particularly if there are children in the mix). And I suspect that this is mostly a matter of the "wife" reminding the "husband" about family matters "he's" in the habit of forgetting about, like upcoming birthdays, and "her" prompting him to take responsibility for things, like remembering soccer practice schedules and upcoming birthdays, "he'd" just as soon slough off onto her, as well as "her" having to keep him paying attention not just to "her" but to the life that they share.
I agree with Professor Leaper, that a lot of the differences are the result of socialization and the above is a good example. The article doesn't say whether or not Leaper considered that many of our gender differences are the result of economic and historical influences as well. Quiet men and chatty women at the dinner table is probably an effect of life on an 19th Century American farm and in a mid-20th century suburb where the man would come home physically and in the latter case also psychically exhausted at the end of the day to a woman who'd been alone all day with no other adult company.
I suspect that there are a lot of American homes these days where both the man and the woman (or "husband" and "wife") are in no mood or shape to carry on much of conversation at night.
But Leaper's point about gender differences in gabbiness being situational is an important one.
Take work, for example. Women tend to talk more while they are working, but men may very well talk more at work. People take away from this whatever conclusions they're predisposed to take. A woman may see men hanging around the water cooler to gab about sports as goofing off and feel that men in meetings hog the conversations. A man may find the friendly banter and gossiping going on between their female colleagues in and around the cubicles distracting and they'll both go home convinced that the other's gender just can't shut up for five minutes straight.
But the fact is that the modern office is a social workplace. It functions on conversation. You don't get along or get ahead or get most things done unless you talk.
Men and women on the assembly line are probably equally laconic.
There are no sports bars in the country where the men aren't constantly making noise. Whether those noises constitute actual conversation is arguable but there's no question that the only lulls in the male-generated noise will occur only when one of the big screen TVs is showing someone about to attempt a difficult putt.
But there are corner bars in some neighborhoods where the first guy who opens his mouth to do something other than drink will get some other guy's fist shoved into it.
People tend to talk more when they're with friends. Lucky people enjoy talking with their families. Anyone who finds himself or herself odd-gender out in a gathering of pals or at a reunion of siblings might naturally come to the conclusion that members of the other gender just can't hold their tongues.
Never underestimate the role of vanity in people's judgments about how the world works.
Lots of us, men and women, expect to be at the center of every conversation and we're hurt when we feel excluded. The fault though is never our own vain desire to hold everyone else's attention rapt. It's that MEN won't pay attention to what a woman has to say or that WOMEN blab on and on about nothing.
But I think that all the factors that contribute to the amount of talking the genders do, social, cultural, historical, situational are trumped by one more...personality.
My bet would be that whenever you are tempted by a group of chatterers to conclude that one gender tends to monopolize the conversation, look again, open your ears, and you'll find that it's the case that there's one or two particular members of that gender who are doing most of the chatting.
Some people are just naturally blabby, and it has nothing to do with the number of y chromosomes they carry.
There are men who can't watch the grass grow without commenting on it nonstop---Is Tim McCarver in the house?---and women who wouldn't mention it if you were standing on their foot.
Some men are born conversationalists and storytellers and some women will begrudge telling you the time of day.
There are some women full of existential longings and lyrical emotions who can't bring themselves to tell anyone but their pets or their diaries, and there are some men who can't resist letting you in on their every passing thought, especially if you happen to be stuck sitting next to them on an airplane.
By the way, you can't judge a person's conversational habits by their writing. Plenty of good writers are complete clams when you meet them in person. But to the degree that what we do here in the blog world is a "conversation," once again it's more the case of personality dictating styles.
Well before Digby outed herself as being of the female persuasion, a bunch of people I know regularly insisted to me that "he" was truly a she. None of them had any evidence, they just "knew." I wouldn't be surprised if their reason for thinking Digby must be a woman was her tendency to write long compared to Atrios, Kos, Drum and the other top dog and obviously very male bloggers. "She" came across as more thoughtful and more willing to "talk" things through, while the men were brusque, argumentative, too damn sure of themselves.
In fact, there are plenty of women bloggers who can pack all they need to say into one or two short, punchy paragraphs and plenty of male bloggers who can't say in one word what they can say in a hundred and who just go on and on and on and...