November 28, 2006

My brain as a hypodermic needle. Your brain as an international airport.

A new book:
[W]omen talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests....

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....

But what the male brain may lack in converstation and emotion, they more than make up with in their ability to think about sex.

Dr Brizendine says the brain's "sex processor" - the areas responsible for sexual thoughts - is twice as big as in men than in women, perhaps explaining why men are stereotyped as having sex on the mind.

Or, to 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".
I love when a book explains supposedly scientific information in language that approximates that Prince song "International Lover."

ADDED: Mark Liberman notes that the book is actually called "The Female Brain" and indicates that the book is more substantial than the linked Daily Mail piece makes it look.

23 comments:

David said...

I prefer Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me, Let's Go Down..."

The problem with private airports where small and private planes land is that they are usually populated by DRONES (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.) Emphasis on UNMANNED!

The real airplane analogy resides in the 'cockpit' as well as where the landing takes place!

J said...

There is no evidence, at least none that linguist Mark Liberman can find, that the assertion about the relative number of words used by women vs. men is actually true--or even that anybody has actually done such a study.

Mike said...

J: I'd be surprised if the ratio is actually that low. ;-)

Ron said...

The International Airport of my Love will confiscate any gels you bring from smaller airports...because you've been bad. Very bad.

This post is stored in my over-the-head compartment, while I am in the locked and upright position.

tiggeril said...

I only use my cell phone to annoy my friend with text messages while he's at work.

Also emergencies but luckily I haven't had any yet.

I'm probably lucky if I speak 1000 words a day, but I type a lot more than that!

Anonymous said...

Doctor Benzedrine niver met'un Irishmun.

Freeman Hunt said...

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....

Really? You'd think we women would have noticed that.

David said...

Freeman Hunt:

You are too busy talking!

ba da boom!

Mortimer Brezny said...

They don't notice the high; they just notice the withdrawal. That's why when they aren't talking, they're eating chocolate or shoe shopping. But we know what they really need....

[INSERT your own joke involving airports and jumbo jets.]

*please note I am mocking stereotypes and that this disclaimer is only included so that I may reach my daily limit of 7,000 words, because if I use more than that I will grow boobs.

foxlets14 said...

One thing I have noticed as I have flown around the country in my little Cessna is that women air traffic controllers appear to be better able to multitask better than male controllers when under extremme pressure of heavy traffic in marginal weather where they have to safely vector inexperienced general aviation pilots flying under visual rules and experienced pilots flying under instrument rules. I'm not saying the men aren't good, it's just that the womwn seem to observably rise to the challenge as things get dicey. In any event this old pilot says "God bless all controllers and may those of the fairer sex continue to talk as much and as fast as they may desire.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with the multitasking. A friend of mine pulls this on me occasionally - addidng one ball in the air at a time until I start losing it. As a woman, she isn't as good at it as many are, but is still a lot better at it than I am.

After about 7 years somewhat together, we finally figured out why I don't like to drive, talk to her, and listen to her music at the same time. Adding the music makes me quite nervous when driving, and that is due to my inability to multi-task. Any two out of three works just fine.

But I am not sure how much this female trait is inborn, and how much is learned. I have watched my daughter become better at it as she gets older.

ed said...

Hmmmm.

So. This scientific study suggests women like to talk and men like to fantasize about sex?

This is news?

Dixie Flatline said...

foxlets14, I have to confess that I made it about halfway through your post before realizing that it wasn't an extended euphemistic metaphor for your sexual experiences, and that you were talking about actual flying. Which is probably as good an illustration as any of the article's second point...

R C Dean said...

Women . . . actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices.

You don't say.

BJK said...

I'm shocked no one has made a "mile high club" reference yet.


...but then again, I am a guy...

Anon Y. Mous said...

Hmmm... one of the sentences you clipped out was this one:

"The book - written by a female psychiatrist - says that inherent differences between the male and female brain explain why women are naturally more talkative than men."

Perhaps for the same reason you didn't make any explicit charge of sexism?

Rusty said...

I once told my wife

"your capacity to talk exceeds my capacity to listen"

Telling the truth CAN get you into trouble.

[timeout to fantasize about sex]

Wow.

Anyway, sometimes science needs to prove the obvious, at least to give us guys some cover.

Eli Blake said...

[W]omen talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

I could also say something snarky about language skills vs. math, but I won't.

The Dread Pirate No-Beard said...

Exhibit A: Gilmore Girls.

Enough said.

Slac said...

I've heard the "international airport" analogy many times before and find it extremely offensive.

Just call me a whore, for goodness sake.

downtownlad said...

They needed a study to tell us this?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Liberman was by no means indicating that the book is more substantial than Daily Mail makes it look. On the contrary, he is disagreeing with the way in which the Daily Mail presents the points in the books as fact. He has devoted many pages on Language Log to challenging Dr. Brizendine's assertions and dissecting her methods and sources. For more information, check out www.languagelog.com.

Mike said...

Eli, what's your snarky comment? I don't get it.

20,000 - 13,000 = 7,000

20,000/7,000 is approx 3.