Women Remember Words and Faces Better Than Men
Have you ever noticed that you both remember a previous argument with the opposite sex differently?
New research shows that women may be slightly better at remembering certain things than men, including speech and people’s faces.
Collectively, there are many different types of memory that allow them to survive and thrive in the world we live in.
An important type of memory is what scientists call “episodic.”
“Episodic memories are consciously recalled memories of personally experienced events,” explain the authors of the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.
However, not everyone can remember all types of episodic memories equally.
One way to show this is to think about disagreements in heterosexual couples: One partner may express sadness about a particular event from the past, while the other partner may not even remember that the event happened before.
Many factors can affect a person’s ability to recall episodic memories, the cognitive decline associated with age-related cognitive decline and preclinical dementia.
However, a person’s biological sex may also play a role, according to a new study from the Karolinska Institutet in Solna, Sweden. The study analyzed evidence from hundreds of studies that examined how members of both sexes recall episodic information.
The findings, now appearing in the journal Psychological Bulletin, show that women are better at recalling certain episodic memories than men.
Episodic Memory in Men and Women
Lead researcher Prof. Agneta Herlitz and her team conducted a meta-analysis of 617 studies between 1973 and 2013, with a total of more than 1.2 million participants.
“The results show that there is a slight female advantage in episodic memory, and this advantage varies depending on which materials are remembered,” said first study author Martin Asperholm, a doctoral student at the Karolinska Institutet.
Specifically, women seem to be better at remembering speech, remembering where they left an object and what happened in a movie. They are also better at remembering faces and sensory images. On the other hand, males seem to be better at remembering abstract information and navigation data.
“In general, women perform better when it comes to remembering verbal information such as words, sentences, texts, and objects; they also remember the location of objects and movies. Men can remember abstract images better and remember their way back from somewhere.” says Agneta Herlitz
prof. “They also have a female advantage when it comes to remembering faces and working with sensory memories like scents,” Herlitz added.
This could have different implications for their daily lives, as the data the scientists analyzed shows there are indeed subtle differences between what men and women are good at remembering.
Future research may explore this life with the goal of finding out whether or to what extent either sex experiences the world differently.
Medical News Today, Women are better than men at remembering words and faces, 2019.