Does Gender Affect Memory?

The focus is exploring the possibilities of gender differences on short term memory. The question being asked is, which gender will remember the most information and be able to get through the most number of trails. To demonstrate this we did a free recall experiment. In a free recall experiment (a basic model study of psychology, the participants study a list of items and then are to recall them in the correct order) Participants are shown patterns that get harder each trial, their job is to verbally repeat as many patterns as they can in order. Some will normally repeat each trial but 4 others, will be told to remember the pattern but have a short break of conversation with the experimenter.

“A great deal of controversy exists in the field of cognitive psychology about the influences that determine recognition memory. Traditionally, dominant theories have attempted to describe recognition memory as being dependent upon a single process of familiarity, where responses are made on the basis of some threshold of confidence that subjects use to discriminate between “old” and “new” items (Yonelinas, 2001). “However, in recent years more researchers have attributed episodic recognition memory to the contribution of two distinct components: recollection and familiarity” (Yonelinas, 2001). “Recollection can be thought of as a process synonymous to recall, where correct identification of an item relies upon the specific properties associated with the item and a concrete link to the original presentation of the item” (Yonelinas, 2001; Schwartz et al., 2005). “Other judgments made during a recognition study are thought to rely on the notion of familiarity, where responses are influenced by the similarity of the probe item and information previously stored in memory” (Schwartz et al., 2005). Being able to retain memory is up to someone, it is a process where the correct information of something is related to something else, or familiarity meaning how well you know this or similarity meaning the equivalence to something you know. “First of all, as regards spatial cognition, while males typically outperform females on tasks dealing with mental rotation and spatial navigation, females tend to outperform males on tasks dealing with object location, relational object location memory, and spatial working memory.” Working memory holds the information of which you are quickly aware. Information being “put into” memory is kept in working memory; memories being remembered are held in working memory. The capacity of working memory, how much information it can hold at one time is extremely limited. Working memory controls your ability to comprehend what you are reading or hearing, your ability to learn new words, your ability to plan and organize yourself, and much more.

Others have conducted this experiment and their results are as followed “we used a dual process model to measure recognition memory performance and describe ROC (Receiver operating characteristic) curves. The estimated roles of recollection and familiarity can be observed by the curvature and shape of the ROCs.” They go on to say that “studies suggest that females have a higher probability of R, but levels of familiarity are approximately the same for men and women”, meaning woman have a higher chance of a receiver than a man.   

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