Is it possible to reasonably guess the gender of a person from a random sample of their writing (text, not handwriting)?

How about from the contents of their speech (not including their voice, of course)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you explain how this is related to psychology/neuroscience? $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 8 '19 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ Because the female brain is different from the male brain. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jan 8 '19 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ The possible answers to your question need not have anything to do with brain structure, I don't feel there is sufficient connection here. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 8 '19 at 22:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. We work differently to most SE sites, where we have a strict policy that all questions should show evidence of prior research. Please help us to help you and edit your question to provide more information on what you have read on this subject, what made you ask this question, and any problems you are having understanding your research. If you found nothing, what did you Google? This helps to provide an answer which will be more helpful. If you still have trouble with this, please visit the How to Ask page or Psychology & Neuroscience Meta. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Jan 9 '19 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I think depends on the topic one can guess the gender, and this is related to psychology. From my limited experience, female writers writing about sex can be different to male writers. Thomas, I'm not sure if one can guess the gender of the writer in a random sample, but guessing an aspect of the writer from their writing is more about linguistics. You may want to read more about discourse analysis. $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jan 9 '19 at 2:23

While you are probably better to ask your question over at the AI Stack Exchange for more practical answers on how to accomplish the task, I would also suggest you could take a look into the topics on Wikipedia for Sociolinguistics, and also Language and gender for the underlying theories as to why Machine learning models are able to make guesses/predictions with upwards of 80% accuracy in trained models such as the following.

So to fully answer your question

Can one reasonably guess the gender of a person from their writing/speech contents?

What is a 'reasonable guess' is not something I can define and is something you would wan't to think seriously about before using the predictions for anything of import to those you are labelling! However it would seem you can make a significantly better than random guess.


Guesswork is not what this site is about.

Statistical analysis of factors of "The Big 5" personality traits:

have been extensivley studied and are well understood in terms of the sex differences that emerge from biology, and also but less so from cultural differences.

It would be possible to design studies to research the various different modes and media of writing, given sufficient funding and analytical clout to do what you ask.

As far as this answerer can determine, no-one has yet given it much attention as it is a low-priority compared to the social issues that prevail in societies today. What you are asking would be considered trivial or "Blue Sky" research at best.


Statistical analysis of many factors, correcting for others is (reductio) extended inductive reasoning, which is (reductio ad absurdum) guesswork.

Get the financial backing to gather a big enough (set of) sample(s) that you can leverage analysis out of (and the mental tools to bring it to order) and you're all set to make a "guess".

  • $\begingroup$ I think there has already have research about this, but it is about the field of discourse analysis $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jan 10 '19 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker Quite true, but even with it's many sub-fields it still lacks the research in the specific area that the OP wanted. $\endgroup$ – Bitter dreggs. Jan 10 '19 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think so? For me, this is the best example to use in machine learning $\endgroup$ – Ooker Jan 10 '19 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Ooker Not an area that I've studied yet, sounds as if you might have a point though and an answer... $\endgroup$ – Bitter dreggs. Jan 10 '19 at 16:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.