Gender positively correlates with how much an individual can recall memories.
My Initial Hypothesis
Memory is one of the wonders of the human mind that many overlook. People differ in how much they can remember. One example of this is my mother and father. My mother has trouble remembering events such as specific details of a vacation we went on or an old memory of my sister or I as children. She can remember specific dates and times but has trouble remembering certain things that may have happened last week. My father on the other hand, has more issues remembering events that may have just happened or a subject we were just discussing, but he can remember certain memories that happened months or years ago. Both my father’s and mother’s memories really seem to depend on how long ago the memory was and how important it was to them. But one obvious point many overlook in terms of memory is gender. My grandmother who is in her mid to late 60s, recalls certain events quite clearly, such as memories of her childhood and times when I was just a baby. Another woman in my family, my aunt, who is in her early 30s, remembers things just as well. For example, she can vividly remember when her and my uncle met, when I first met her, what I have told her about certain TV shows or movies. The males in my family vary on the amount they remember. My grandfather who is in his mid to late 60s, remembers certain things perfectly but other times he can’t remember what happened the evening before. For instance, my grandma will ask him a question about the baseball game from two weeks ago and he would remember perfectly (especially if it was a Cubs game) but if she asked him about a conversation they had the evening before, he most likely won’t remember. Another male in my family is my uncle. He’s in his early 30s and remembers different events very well. He recalls memories of my sister and I as babies all the time. Due to the varying differences in memory in relation to gender, I have reason to believe that memory and gender positively correlate with one another, meaning a certain gender can recall memories easier than the other. To help my family discover how to memorize things better and see who can memorize the most, I would like to further investigate the correlation between gender and memory.
The Empirical Evidence
Although many people overlook the concept of gender and memory correlating, it has not gone unnoticed by researchers and scientists. There have been many studies on memory, but not as many studies on the correlation between gender and memory affecting one another. In one study, researchers Amanda Fuentes and Mary Desrocher, studied the autobiographical memory (AM) between females and males which provides the recall of personal events of a person’s past (Fuentes & Desrocher, 2013). The other two other forms of memory considered are episodic and semantic. Episodic memory is the storage and retrieval of memories at specific times and places and causes the person to relive events (Levine, Svoboda, Hay, Wincour, & Moscovitch, 2002). Semantic memory is the general knowledge of the world that does not trigger the reliving of past experiences (Levine et al., 2002). Researchers have discovered that early on in childhood, memory starts to differ between males and females. P.J. Davis stated that females showed great accessibility of memories of childhood and adolescence (Davis, 1999). The multitude of reports of gender and its correlation with memory have been consistent and positive in terms of females’ memory compared to males. Although many do not connect gender and memory often, the ones who do immediately speculate that women may have a better memory than men based on generalized perceptions that society has made. To help prove the key differences of male and female memory, researchers Agneta Herlitz and Jenny Rehnman conducted an experiment to thoroughly study and evaluate the differences. Their findings concluded that women excelled in verbal episodic memory tasks, like memorizing words or pictures whereas the men outperformed women in remembering symbolic information, also known as visuospatial processing (Herlitz, 2008). An example Herlitz uses is someone finding their way out of the woods. In terms of the findings in this experiment, it shows that a male would be more likely to remember his way out of the forest (Herlitz 2008). On the other hand, females outperformed in terms of verbal and visuospatial processing. This means that the women are better at remembering faces, especially others females, and remembering where the car keys are located (Herlitz 2008). To further explain the discovery of women remembering faces better, Herlitz and Rehnman conducted another experiment. They brought up pictures of black and white androgynous faces which they labeled male, female, or simply just faces (Herlitz 2008). After showing these photos, the females in the group were able to remember the androgynous faces. In an experiment conducted by Horgan, Stein, Southworth, and Swarbick (2012), they concluded that women remember more personal information about others such as birthdays or ages and relationships. This is due to the idea that women’s sense of self is more interdependent than men’s (Horgan et al., 2012). But even through all this research, it is still unknown whether there really is a difference in males and female’s memory but the results of the tests currently show females hold advantages over males in terms of episodic memory (Herlitz 2008).
My Current Opinion
My hypothesis was supported.
After researching and studying many scholarly articles and various sources of empirical evidence, my original hypothesis was supported and my opinion has changed slightly on the matter after all the research. Prior to research, I thought that women would remember memories more in relation to men based on my family. After reading, it looks as if men and women remember memories and certain aspects of memories at various levels. Women remember more specific details like age or relationships with the person in their memory whereas men remember more of the symbolic details in memories. Various sources deemed women more capable of remembering verbal episodic memory and men remember symbolic details (Herlitz 2008).
I was only mildly surprised to see the results of the studies from various researchers. I have always thought that women do remember memories better than males based on societies schema around the subject. There is still much more to learn about memory and its correlation with gender but I can conclude that men and women remember things but at varying intervals. I will be happy to report to my family that all of them have good memory but they all just remember the little details differently from one another and that’s okay.