Determining Gender from Transcripts of Phone Calls

I was reading a paper [pdf] that showed that it is possible, with an accuracy of around 93%, to work out the gender of a person taking part in a phone call from a transcript of the call. If the call is between people of the same gender then almost 100% accuracy is reached. I already know that men and woman use different words when they are communicating but I was curious about the specific differences.

The paper showed that in phone calls the most characteristic feature for males are swear words and that for females they are family oriented words. Men are likely to say “dude” in male to male conversations (this was a study based on American English) and women say “cute”. I am missing something though when it comes to the female conversations as I can’t think why women would use the word “refunding” and I have to assume that the use of the words “coupons” and “crafts” is American-centric. Either that or I’m the one having strange phone conversations.

One Response to “Determining Gender from Transcripts of Phone Calls”

  1. Difference Blog Says:

    I also wrote about thsi study today. I am extremely confused by the use of the word “refunding” — especially given the list of topics that the subjects were given to discuss. “wife” appears in men’s conversations nearly as much as “husband” appears in women’s. It’s the proper names in both lists that confused the hell out of me.

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