The study's authors didn't just study the number of words spoken, however. They also studied whether men and women spoke more words to members of the same sex than they did to each other. The answer? No.
Mehl did find some communication differences between the genders, however, primarily in the subjects men and women discussed.
According to Mehl, men in the study tended to talk more about technology and sports, while women talked more about their relationships.
This is "consistent with the idea that women are more communal in their relationships," he said.
Mehl emphasized, however, that the number of words individuals actually spoke in a day was highly variable. At the extreme ends of the study, the person who spoke the most — 47,000 words a day — was a man, while the person who spoke the least — 700 words a day — was a woman.
"We wanted to know how many words do humans really use — the sex difference, but also the total number of words," Mehl said. "We now know that's between 700 and 47,000."
As brain-scanning technology improves, specifically in regards to gender studies, Mehl says he believes it's important to complement those advances with studies of how brain activity translates in behavior.
"With what's technologically feasible these days … it is so tempting that what we find in the brain is the real thing. We need to study everyday behavior [to determine] to what extent brain differences matter," Mehl said. "I see this study as a sort of affirmative action for behavioral research in the real world."