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Boys vs. Girls: Who Talks More, and What Do They Talk About?

My last cartoon asks questions about what is it exactly that couples do twice a week. Get ready to rumble.

I was browsing through my cartoons and was curious about this one I did a while ago, I think for Phi Delta Kappan,  a well-known publication for teachers (who love cartoons!) I remember it was in the news a lot that girls did better than boys in learning and maybe in speaking, but had I remembered that research correctly?

Science Daily writes:

Back in 2001, the world of language research was rocked by the discovery that a gene calledFOXP2 appeared to be essential for the production of speech. Researchers cautioned thatFOXP2 is probably only one of many genes involved in human communication, but later discoveries seemed to underscore its importance…

During this same time period, a number of studies have confirmed past research suggesting that young girls learn language faster and earlier than boys, producing their first words and sentences sooner and accumulating larger vocabularies faster. But the reasons behind such findings are highly controversial because it is difficult to separate the effects of nature versus nurture, and the differences gradually disappear as children get older.

To further investigate this battle of girls vs boys,  a team led by psychologist J. Michael Bowers and neuroscientist Margaret McCarthy of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore decided more research was necessary. So they separated baby rats from the parents and let them cry and weep in fear and marked down how many times they cried. Then they killed all the rats. This is science?

Then they compared the rats to 5 boys and 5 girls. Huh? This study was pathetic, and it doesn’t prove a thing. I think these 2 scientists, a man and a woman, are equally slow in learning.

The Harvard School of Public Health decided to skip the rats and just compare who talks more: men or women? Women tend to talk more in small groups, but if the groups were over 7 people, men talked more. Dinner party hosts, take note.

In 2006, there was a provocative book published called The Female Brain. It claimed that women were real chatterboxes. James Pennebaker, chair of the University of Texas at Austin’s psychology department, said No Way.  In Scientific American:

“I read that and I knew it couldn’t be true simply because we’ve run too many studies,” he says, “it just didn’t make sense.” In fact, he had been collecting data over the past decade with colleagues at the University of Arizona in Tucson that specifically showed that the sexes are about equal when it comes to a war of words.

He noted that men tend to talk more about concrete objects (video games, cars, meat)  and women talk more about other people. Like I’m doing.

Little boy in the cartoon, don’t worry. Soon enough you will be a Smooth Operator, and can talk on your iPhone as loudly as you want, about nothing interesting.

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Boys vs. Girls: Who Talks More, and What Do They Talk About?

Donna Barstow

Cartoonist for LA Times, Parade, WSJ, Glamour, PsychCentral, Barron's, Weight Watchers, and textbooks & Chicken Soup books. Author and editor of 2 cartoon books and a Barnes & Noble calendar.

I both write and draw all my cartoons. You are warmly invited to share the link to this cartoon. The full-size cartoons are all copyrighted, so please email me at pen.drawing AT g mail (squish it) for rates for use in textbooks, prints, presentations, publications, or websites. Email me AT pen.drawing @ gmail. com. (Squish the address.)

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APA Reference
, . (2017). Boys vs. Girls: Who Talks More, and What Do They Talk About?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 28 May 2017
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