Gender differences in episodic memory

Abstract

The relationship between gender and memory has been largely neglected by research, despite occasional studies reporting gender differences in episodic memory performance. The present study examined potential gender differences in episodic memory, semantic memory, primary memory, and priming. Five hundred thirty women and 470 men, randomly sampled from the city of Umeå, Sweden, 35–80 years of age, participated in the study. There were no differences between men and women with regard to age or education, or on a measure of global intellectual functioning. As has been demonstrated previously, men outperformed women on a visuospatial task and women outperformed men on tests of verbal fluency. In addition, the results demonstrated that women consistently performed at a higher level than did men on the episodic memory tasks, although there were no differences between men and women on the tasks assessing semantic memory, primary memory, or priming. The women’s higher level of performance on the episodic memory tasks could not be fully explained by their higher verbal ability.

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Correspondence to Agneta Herlitz.

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This research was supported by grants from the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research, the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Swedish Council for Social Research, and the Swedish Medical Research Council.

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Herlitz, A., Nilsson, L. & Bäckman, L. Gender differences in episodic memory. Memory & Cognition 25, 801–811 (1997). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211324

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Keywords

  • Gender Difference
  • Face Recognition
  • Free Recall
  • Episodic Memory
  • Mental Rotation