The ultimate chatterbox of our society is always said to be women. They always seem to fall victim to some behavioral patterns. Women love to talk, loud and obnoxious. They would discuss every consequential – as well as inconsequential – things with each other. What to order for dinner? Let’s discuss. Should I get married? Sure, let’s discuss. Hashing out big, and rather important decisions are something women discuss in conversations. And these discussions might happen over brunch. These are nothing but stereotypes set by society about women.
What if, however, that it is actually the truth? Such a sweeping generalisation about women’s behavior cannot be right. Why? When similarly, there are men who are even bigger chatterboxes than women. There aren’t any concrete researches in this field so as to tip the bar in either of the sides.
Northeastern University seems to have made quite a noticeable leap in this one. David Lazer is a Northeastern Professor researching social networks. He also holds joint appointments in the Department of Political Science and the College of Computer and Information Sciences. Lazer believes in using a different approach for this unsolved matter – employing sociometers. These are wearable devices that will collect real-time data tracking social interactions of the user.
Lazer and his team handpicked a group of people. Further, they gave them sociometers. This enabled them to divide them into two different groups for half a day. This experiment would prove who is the ultimate chatterbox. The first setting was of master’s degree candidates, who were to work on an individual project, where they could to converse with one another. On the other hand, the second setting was in a call-center in a US banking firm, with no determined tasks, and frequent lunch breaks.
The results of this experiment were quite conclusive. In the second setting, women were slightly more prone to engage in conversations in lunch breaks, as compared to men, for both long term and short-term conversations. In the first one though, researchers observed that women were more likely to engage in long discussions than men. Not so much for the shorter conversations. They also observed that when the group swelled to six or more people, men were the ones to talk the most. This proves that there is not one ultimate chatterbox. It solely depends on the setting.
“In one of the more collaborative settings, we see the women choosing to work together, and when you work together you tend to talk more,” said Lazer. “So, it depends on the particular scenario that leads to more interactions. The real story is there’s an interplay between the setting and gender. It created this difference.”