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Women Are Better than Men at Remembering Details, Study finds

Update Date: Jun 11, 2013 03:28 PM EDT

According to a new study conducted by researchers from Cornell University, women and men appear to encode and recall memory very differently from one another. The researchers found that women seemed to have better memory than men, which could explain why certain gender stereotypes exist. Although the researchers did not actually find biological evidence of different memory development, they did find promising results of why the difference might exist.

"It appears that, compared with men, women may attend to and encode more information during ongoing events, experience similar rates of forgetting, and then show greater ability to access retained event information at recall," said author Qi Wang, professor of human development in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

The researchers recruited 60 undergraduates from the university with diverse cultural backgrounds. The researchers sent each participant three text messages throughout the course of one week. Every time the participant received a message, he/she was required to write out what he/she did 30 minutes prior to the message. At the end of the week, the participants were given a surprise memory test. The researchers found that women were better able to recall memory at the initial test, which was prompted by the text message. Women also performed better on the final memory test. In comparison to men, women appeared to be more focused on relationships and social interactions.

"Our findings also suggest that the content of memories is reconstructed over time in a gendered fashion," Wang said according to Medical Xpress. "The findings help us understand gender differences in memory and inform the theoretical debate about where in the memory formation process these differences emerge."

The study, "Gender and Emotion in Everyday Event Memory," was published in the journal Memory

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