By “sampling” people’s daily lives, Mehl said his recorder often picks up on things that people don’t notice. Most of us remember only the highlights of our days — an interesting conversation or a ballgame. But much of the time, our lives run on autopilot, and we don’t notice what’s going on. Mehl said getting detailed information about what people do during the majority of their time is central to understanding them psychologically.
The sampling technique has revealed flaws in common stereotypes. Take the one about how women like to talk much more than men. When Mehl actually measured how many words men and women speak each day, he found there was practically no difference — both men and women speak around 17,000 words a day, give or take a few hundred. - Shankar Vedantam, NPR
This is a photo-based tumblr, but I just wanted to highlight this cool illustration by the Science Desk’s intern, Ayodhya Ouditt. He is studying industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design and we can’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeve. To learn more about NPR’s awesome interns, check out their tumblr. -Emily