Language Aptitude and Gender

  • Cornelia HablEmail author
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 16)


In recent years, research has shown that the neurocognition of language, e.g. how language is learned, stored and retrieved, differs between men and women. To a certain extent, these findings could be linked to differences in brain structure and function, especially the gender specific connectivity of the brain and convergent activation patterns during speech perception. Women were found to show greater interhemispheric activity than men in language related tasks, pointing towards a stronger emotional involvement in declarative memory retrieval. In men, the same processes seem to be performed by only one hemisphere which is connected to the procedural memory system, specialised for rules and sequences. Considering the bilateral hemispheric activation in women in language related tasks, this study firstly hypothesised that they would outperform men in vocabulary memory tasks. Due to the assumption that men rely more on the procedural memory system for memorising lexical information, the second hypothesis examined whether men perform better in grammar learning tasks than women. Using the LLAMA B and the LLAMA F test, participants were required to remember words or grammatical rules for artificial languages respectively. Even though the results show no significant differences, they yield interesting points for discussion about possibly undesirable links between the two tests. Furthermore, interviews with the participants after testing in relation to their test scores showed fascinating links between testing success and emotional involvement with the stimuli.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Centre for Teacher Education, Unit for Language Learning and Teaching ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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