Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Never forget a face? Researchers find women have better memory recall than men

Date:
June 4, 2013
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
New research suggests women can remember faces better than men, in part because they spend more time studying features without even knowing it. And, researchers say a technique can help improve anyone's memories.

Figure showing the scanning patterns of a female and a male when viewing the same face for the first time.
Credit: Image courtesy of McMaster University

New research from McMaster University suggests women can remember faces better than men, in part because they spend more time studying features without even knowing it, and a technique researchers say can help improve anyone's memories.

The findings help to answer long-standing questions about why some people can remember faces easily while others quickly forget someone they've just met.

"The way we move our eyes across a new individual's face affects our ability to recognize that individual later," explains Jennifer Heisz, a research fellow at the Rotman Institute at Baycrest and newly appointed assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.

She co-authored the paper with David Shore, psychology professor at McMaster and psychology graduate student Molly Pottruff.

"Our findings provide new insights into the potential mechanisms of episodic memory and the differences between the sexes. We discovered that women look more at new faces than men do, which allows them to create a richer and more superior memory," Heisz says.

Eye tracking technology was used to monitor where study participants looked -- be it eyes, nose or mouth -- while they were shown a series of randomly selected faces on a computer screen. Each face was assigned a name that participants were asked to remember.

One group was tested over the course of one day, another group tested over the course of four days.

"We found that women fixated on the features far more than men, but this strategy operates completely outside of our awareness. Individuals don't usually notice where their eyes fixate, so it's all subconscious."

The implications are exciting, she says, because it means anyone can be taught to scan more and potentially have better memory.

"The results open the possibility that changing our eye movement pattern may lead to better memory," says Shore. "Increased scanning may prove to be a simple strategy to improve face memory in the general population, especially for individuals with memory impairment like older adults."

The complete study, published in the journal Psychological Science, can be found at this link.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J. J. Heisz, M. M. Pottruff, D. I. Shore. Females Scan More Than Males: A Potential Mechanism for Sex Differences in Recognition Memory. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612468281

Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Never forget a face? Researchers find women have better memory recall than men." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604113957.htm>.
McMaster University. (2013, June 4). Never forget a face? Researchers find women have better memory recall than men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604113957.htm
McMaster University. "Never forget a face? Researchers find women have better memory recall than men." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604113957.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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