Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex Differences In Memory: Women Better Than Men At Remembering Everyday Events

Date:
February 21, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
There are several human characteristics considered to be genetically predetermined and evolutionarily innate, such as immune system strength, physical adaptations and even sex differences. Psychologists determine significant sex differences in episodic memory, a type of long-term memory based on personal experiences, favoring women. Specific results indicated that women excelled in verbal episodic memory tasks, such as remembering words, objects, pictures or everyday events, and men outperformed women in remembering symbolic, non-linguistic information, known as visuospatial processing. For example, the results indicate a man would be more likely to remember his way out of the woods.

There are several human characteristics considered to be genetically predetermined and evolutionarily innate, such as immune system strength, physical adaptations and even sex differences. These qualities drive the nature versus nurture debate and ask of our species, who is more successful and why?

Psychologists Agneta Herlitz and Jenny Rehnman in Stockholm, Sweden asked an even more complicated question of human predisposition: Does one’s sex influence his or her ability to remember every day events? Their surprising findings did in fact determine significant sex differences in episodic memory, a type of long-term memory based on personal experiences, favoring women.

Specific results indicated that women excelled in verbal episodic memory tasks, such as remembering words, objects, pictures or everyday events, and men outperformed women in remembering symbolic, non-linguistic information, known as visuospatial processing. For example, the results indicate a man would be more likely to remember his way out of the woods.

However, there are also sex differences favoring women on tasks such as remembering the location of car keys, which requires both verbal and visuospatial processing.

“In addition, women are better than men at remembering faces, especially of females,” described Herlitz and Rehnman, “and the reason seems to be that women allocate more attention to female than to male faces.”

To determine this particular finding, the psychologists presented three groups of participants with black and white pictures of hairless, androgynous faces and described them as ‘female faces,’ ‘male faces’ or just ‘faces.’ The findings indicate that women were able to remember the androgynous faces presented as female more accurately than the androgynous faces presented as male.

In additional studies, psychologists also discovered that women perform better than men in tasks requiring little to no verbal processing, such as recognition of familiar odors, and that the female episodic memory advantage increases when women utilize verbal abilities and decreases when visuospatial abilities are required. Environmental factors, such as education, seem to influence the magnitude of these sex differences, as well.

While the probability of genetically-based differences between the quality of male and female memory remains unknown, the results suggest that females currently hold the advantage in episodic memory.

The article, “Sex Differences in Episodic Memory,” appeared in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Sex Differences In Memory: Women Better Than Men At Remembering Everyday Events." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220104244.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, February 21). Sex Differences In Memory: Women Better Than Men At Remembering Everyday Events. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220104244.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Sex Differences In Memory: Women Better Than Men At Remembering Everyday Events." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220104244.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins