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Running head: GENDER AND MEMORY

Gender and Memory: Word Memorization as an Indicator of Memory Retention Between Males
and Females
Matthew Brooks, Susanna Starling, Joy Clark. and Noah Long
University of Kentucky

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Abstract

The comparison between gender and memory has been disputed throughout the history of
research. Studies have shown that men tend to remember negative associations such as war while
alternatively, women tended to remember positive associations such as daily occurrences. This
study would hypothesize that the male gender would remember things better than the female
gender due to the associations that men and women have. Gender was noted by the born gender
of each participant. Our study was made to see which gender remembers words the fastest. After
being presented with a set of words for a period of two minutes, participants will write words
that were remembered on a sheet of paper. This research would aide in the development of a
new level of complexity of the mechanics of memory.

GENDER AND MEMORY

Gender and Memory: Word Memorization as an Indicator of Memory Retention Between


Males and Females
Memory, as a construct encompassing the cognitive act of information storage and
retention, is a vital factor for success in the modern world of service, technical and rehabilitative
professional industries. With the changing market for such professions and the increasing
demand being placed upon the technical and categorical sectors of those markets, the importance
of a strong memory and understanding the qualities of a strong memory grows with that demand.
It is the subject of this study to investigate the gender factor or sexual factor of memory, the
interpretation of which depends upon the reader's subjective interpretation of Sex v Gender as an
anatomical or purely psychological factor. In this study, the interpretation is purely anatomical.
Although subjects may have undergone physical alteration (Vassectomy, Tubal Ligation, Sexual
Reassignment Surgery) the definition of "Male" and "Female" in this study refers to only the
birth anatomical nature of the subject, not the later changes in anatomical or psycho-sexual
identity.
Gender factor or sexual factor in this study refer to effect of anatomical sexual identity on
the short-term information retentive capacity (short-term memory) between male and female
subjects. This factor is the subject of the proposed study. Discovery or analysis of this factor may
lead to improved workplace hiring practices, positioning and equality in the workplace proper, as
well as an improved understanding of baseline differences between information retention and
gender.
Loftus, Bamaji, Schooler, & Foster (1987) proposed that neither sex, based on their
findings, were more or less adept at the act of memorization, instead, finding that Males and
Females memorize different information more thoroughly than their counterparts. Loftus et al.

GENDER AND MEMORY

(1987) found that males excelled at spatial memorization and females at verbal/written memory
(songs, poems, articles).
Glaser, Mendrek, Germain, Lakis, Lavoie (2012), found that men were more prone to
remembering negative memories, specifically, that the portion of their brain most active (right
hemisphere) was most active for men when witnessing distressing or negative images. Women,
however, were exactly opposite, with their right hempisphere being more active when viewing
positive images (Glaser et al. 2012).
Similarly, Jarschke, and Frederick (2014), provides strong evidence that memory is
selective and affected by gender stereotypes. The researchers in this study found that females
were more likely to remember words with the feminine connotation (i.e. perfume, blouse,
bouquet, skirt) than the male connotative counterparts, what the research team in this case called
Gender-congruent. The findings of the study, however, were confounded by the results of the
male subjects, which showed no significant difference between male and female connotative
words, therefore showing no Gender Congruence in males. This lack of evidence among the
male subject results gave evidence to the researchers alternative hypothesis.
The results of Herrmann, Crawford and Holdsworth (1992), provide insight into the
background factors and alleviate confounding evidence in the previous studies. A similar study,
provided evidence that subjects that identified as female were more adept at remembering faces,
especially female faces, memorizing words, objects and other daily occurrences and events
(Glaser et al. 2012). This suggests people that identify as female are more adept at Episodic
memory than their male counterparts. The results of Herrmann et al. (1992) coupled with the
findings of Glaser et al. (2012), illustrate that Gender does play an integral role in the formation
and routine creation of memories in both male and female subjects.

GENDER AND MEMORY

In this study, the subjects will be asked to memorize a list of words, retain those words
and recount the words they have remembered to the proctor after a study-wide timed break. Their
responses, grouped Male and Female (based upon the pre-determined criteria) will be taken,
averages, means and diversions will be recorded post-procedure. This breaks the study into many
facets.
The Independent Variables such as they are consist of: Male/Female | Time Given
between memorization phase and recounting phase; Number of Words given to memorize | Order
of words given in writing; Emotional State of Memorizing group | Presence of Other group
members during phase.
The Dependent Variables Number of Words memorized / Order of recountation. It is the
opinion of this research group that males will show better short term memory results than
females, however, emotional factors, such as trauma, sadness, or elation may affect the recieved
results.
Method
Participants
The proposed participants for this research would be a sample size of 20 individuals. 10
of those individuals would be male, and the remaining 10 individuals would be female. Age, race
and non-natural sexual orientation are noted, but not primarily vital to the method.
Materials
This research would require a pencil for each individual, sheet of paper for each
individual and a slide of 25 neutral words.
Procedure

GENDER AND MEMORY

This is a between subjects study. The independent variable is gender and the dependent
variable is how many words were memorized by each person. Each person will be shown 15
neutral words on one slide for 20 seconds and after the slide is gone, the participant will write
down as many words as they can remember. The participant will be given two minutes to view
the slide. Once the slide is removed, the participant will begin writing down as many words as
they can remember from the slide. Each correct word written down would result in a point. This
method would be replicated for each individual participant. The scores of all participants in the
same gender will be averaged. The independent variables in this study would be the gender of
the individuals participating in the study. The dependent variable would be the average score
received for the memory test.
Predicted Results
The predicted average score for males will be 8, whereas females are predicted to obtain
the score of 8.5. The research does predict that the female group will have the higher average
score. The research was analyzed by counting the amount of words each participant for each
gender remembered. Those scores would then be averaged and the average written as the
genders score. It is expected that there be no main effects for any of the variables. The
interaction between the independent variables would be that the gender of the participant would
have to interact with.
Discussion
Through the years there has been much discussion concerning the comparison over the
relationship between genders. The many questions that have arisen over this subject, many
unfounded or pseudoscientific in nature, are an illustrator of the need for such a study, one that
can provide a decisive argument that can be utilized to remove any pre-founded or erroneous

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reports based on unfounded or pseudoscientific previous research. Such questions would be


answered decisively: Does gender affect a persons memory? This study seeks to either prove or
disprove the hypothesis that men have better memories than women.
Previous studies have shown that men tended to retain memories with a negative or
unpleasant association and memories that involved arousal (Glaser et al. 2012). Alternatively
women have shown to retain memories that presented with a more positive or pleasant
associations such as daily activities (Herrmann, Crawford, and Wingfield, 1992). Based on what
each gender has a better history with remembering, our study would predict that men would have
a better memory than women. If we were to show men a mixture of words with some negative
and some positive, our study would support the theory that men would remember more of the
negative words than women would.
This study poses risk for several significant confounding variables, these include, in no
particular order: variable emotional and physical states of the tested subjects, age of the tested
subjects and anatomical / hereditary lineage of the subjects, hereditary factors, in particular, may
confound the results of the study. Being that natural anatomical sexual orientation is the only
sexual factor being measured, sexual identification would pose no serious confound to this study.
To minimize the previously mentioned confounds, subjects would need to be further detailed and
identified. Beyond sexual orientation; age, race and hereditary details should also be recorded, as
the analysis of these further factors may provide further, unintended insight.
This study would benefit research in that it would help to develop a level of complexity
on how memory works that has plagued research on memory for years. It would aid in work
environments for job assignments in the workplace in that there would be scientific support for
allotting a task to one person rather than another. Research in this field could change the way

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students are taught altogether in that it would alter the basics and reasoning for teaching methods
altogether. This research could take science one step closer to aiding in reaching every student in
the unique way that he or she is most likely to understand in order to reach their full potential.
The comparison between gender and memory has been disputed throughout the history of
research.

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References

Glaser, E., Mendrek, A., Germain, M., Lakis, Nadia., Lavoie, M. E., Sex differences in memory
of emotional images: a behavioral and electrophysiological investigation. International
Journal of Psychophysiology, 2012
Herrmann, D. J., Crawford, M., & Holdsworth, M., (1992). Gender-linked differences in
everyday memory performance. British Journal of Psychology, 83, 221-231
Jarschke, A. K., & Frederick, C. M. (2014). The influence of gender on long-term incidental
memory. Student Pulse, 6(05).
Loftus, E. F., Bamaji, M. R., Schooler, J. W., & Foster, R., (1987) Who remembers what?:
gender differences in memory.Michigan Quarterly Review, 26, 64-84.

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Figure 1.
25

Predictive Averaged Score

20

15

10

0
Male

Female
Predicted Average Score

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Figure 1 shows the average score that is predicted for each gender to obtain when conducting this
study.

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Group Evaluation

Everyone worked very hard on this project in one way or another. Be it from editing and fitting
into APA format or making sure all the content was there and everyone made sure their part was
done wonderfully. I would give each member of the team the highest grade possible for group
participation on this assignment.