Is there a difference in autobiographical memory between men and women?

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#1 20 September, 2014 - 16:58
Joined: 1 year 10 months ago

Is there a difference in autobiographical memory between men and women?

I just came across this article:
Why Men Never Remember Anything

Researchers are finding some preliminary evidence that women are indeed better at recalling memories, especially autobiographical ones. Girls and women tend to recall these memories faster and with more specific details, and some studies have demonstrated that these memories tend to be more accurate, too, when compared to those of boys and men.


And there’s an explanation for this: It could come down to the way parents talk to their daughters, as compared to their sons, when the children are developing memory skills.

There's more explanation in the article. It sounds like it's less of a biological difference than a cultural one. Maybe there's something in the article that could be useful to parents.

But the way parents tend to talk to their sons is different from the way they talk to their daughters. Mothers tend to introduce more snippets of new information in conversations with their young daughters than they do with their young sons, research has shown. And moms tend to ask more questions about girls’ emotions; with boys, on the other hand, they spend more time talking about what they should do with those feelings.

21 September, 2014 - 00:26
r30's picture
Joined: 3 years 1 month ago

According to this article, yes:

While the probability of genetically-based differences between the quality of male and female memory remains unknown, the results suggest that females currently hold the advantage in episodic memory.

Fortunately, men also have some advantages:

Specific results indicated that women excelled in verbal episodic memory tasks, such as remembering words, objects, pictures or everyday events, and men outperformed women in remembering symbolic, non-linguistic information, known as visuospatial processing. For example, the results indicate a man would be more likely to remember his way out of the woods.
However, there are also sex differences favoring women on tasks such as remembering the location of car keys, which requires both verbal and visuospatial processing.

This indicates that men should perform better at memory tasks that cannot be done verballly. Of mnemocompetitions I can think of only one task:

  1. Memorizing abstract images

However, at competition they do it so fast that they don't have time to think verbally:

  1. Memorizing cards
  2. Binary digits
  3. Random numbers (or do they spell the numbers out in their mind?)

But according to that article women should definitely outperform men in tasks such as:

  1. Names and faces
  2. Random words
  3. Historic dates

Of course, almost all mnemoathletes use journeys to memorize the stuff. And memorizing and recalling journeys requires visuospatial processing, in which men outperform women.

But this also has a catch: Although orientating mentally in memory palaces may be harder for women, let's say a female has already perfectly memorized a journey and has given a name to each location. Then placed a verbal image at each location. Now women should be able to recall the images more easily, because they recall verbally: location name -> image name.

Another article:

One of the most interesting differences appear in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed of things, carry out mental mathematical calculations, orient in space and visualize objects in three dimensions, etc. In all these tasks, women and men are strikingly different, as they are too in the way their brains process language. This may account, scientists say, for the fact that there are many more male mathematicians, airplane pilots, bush guides, mechanical engineers, architects and race car drivers than female ones.

On the other hand, women are better than men in human relations, recognizing emotional overtones in others and in language, emotional and artistic expressiveness, esthetic appreciation, verbal language and carrying out detailed and pre-planned tasks. For example, women generally can recall lists of words or paragraphs of text better than men.

27 January, 2015 - 12:03
Joined: 1 year 12 months ago

very good! you are great!
verbal and verbal image techniques !
maybe there is some kind of speed speaking (just like speed reading!)

repetition also is great!

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