Wellness

Chatty Cathy, listen up: New study reveals why women talk more than men

Feb. 21, 2013 at 10:16 AM ET

Women have a gift for gab, and now they can silence their critics with science.

New research indicates there’s a biological reason why women talk so much more than men: 20,000 words a day spoken by the average woman, according to one study, versus about 7,000 words a day for the average man.

Women’s brains have higher levels of a “language protein” called FOXP2, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“The major finding that we discovered was that this protein FOXP2 is involved in vocalization,” Mike Bowers, who led the study’s team of researchers, told TODAY.

“We can’t say that this is the end-all-be-all reasoning. but it is one of the first avenues with which we can start to explore why women tend to be more verbal than men.”

In the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers examined a group of young 4- and 5-year olds and discovered 30 percent more of the language protein in the brains of the girls.

That doesn’t mean women are always the chattier gender.

TODAY’s David Gregory admitted Thursday that he’s a talker, recounting a story from college when someone told him, “you’re talking a hole in my head.”

During a surprise call on air, his wife confirmed that Gregory is the chattier of the two.

“I think I have an indentation myself,” she said.

Gregory, who lives in Washington, D.C., has been in New York this week filling in for TODAY host Matt Lauer. His wife, Beth Wilkinson, said she's been enjoying the silence.

“Thanks for keeping our house quiet this week,” she told the TODAY crew.

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