When it comes to communication, men and women may be reading different playbooks. A new study serves to highlight the communication differences between men and women, thus underscoring the importance of women’s recovery centers. In 2019 researchers from San Francisco State University took a look at the ways in which men and women use language to get a message across, and the results were eye-opening, and perhaps a bit surprising. Would you guess that it’s the male portion of our species who tends to use more abstract language? According to researcher Priyanka Joshi, the idea of communicative abstraction speaks to the tendency to use, “abstract speech that focuses on the broader picture and ultimate purpose of action rather than concrete speech focusing on details and the means of attaining action.” Based on the data, Joshi found that women were significantly less likely than men to speak in the abstract. “One gender difference that has been pointed to anecdotally is the tendency of women to speak about specifics and men to speak about the bigger picture,” she noted, yet, “we find that men communicate more abstractly than women.” How did the team determine this to be the case? They used a variety of methods and settings to analyze communication patterns, including evaluating more than 600,000 blog posts. To do this, the researchers rated thousands of words for their “abstract factor.” As an example, words that can be visualized, e.g., chair, were considered to have a low abstract score while words hard to visualize, e.g. justice, received high abstract scores. Given this paradigm, men’s blog posts used significantly more abstract language than women’s. To confirm these results, they then analyzed U.S. Congressional session transcripts from a 16 year period. Based on the previous findings, they expected that female Congress members use less abstract language than their male colleagues. What they found was absolutely that, replicating the results of the prior study. The researchers concluded that, while men and women may communicate differently, there are several reasons influencing this trend, including choosing certain words in certain situational contexts.
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