INTRODUCTION Every day we must rely upon our memory. We must remember to brush our teeth in the morning. We must remember where we parked our car at the super market. We must remember to set our alarm clock before we go to bed at night. It is often said that males and females think in different ways. A study was conducted by Jausovec and Jausovec (2005) that investigated gender differences in resting EEG related to the level of general and emotional intelligence. It was found that male’s brain activity decreased with the level of general intelligence, whereas an opposite pattern of brain activity was observed in females. Therefore, it appears that males and females have different resting EEG correlates of IQ. In a study conducted by Lawton and Hatcher (2005), the gender differences in manipulation of information in visuospatial short-term memory, specifically, the mental integration of two images that had been briefly presented as separate locations or at separate times was investigated. Men were more accurate than women in recognizing the combined abstract shape that would result if two individual shapes were overlapped and matched by a dot common to both. It was discovered by this study that men responded faster than women did in this type of situation (Lawton and Hatcher, 2005). Larabee and Crook (1993) found women perform better than men in tasks such as verbal-learning-remembering tasks, name-face association, and first-last- name associations learning (Larrabee and Crook, 1993 as cited in Halpern, 2000). All three of these studies show that women and men have very different ways of thinking, therefore they will most likely have different memory and recall as well. In a study done by Cherney (1999) three to six year old children and adults were exposed to various gendered objects which they later were asked to recognize or recall. The findings of this study revealed gender schematic processing for all age groups. Males tend to recall more male-stereotyped objects than female-stereotyped objects. Females were more likely to recall more female-stereotyped objects than male-stereotyped. The purpose of this study is to discover if there is a significant effect for the sex of a participant on the types of gender associated images recalled.
Data were collected from 28 undergraduate students from a mid sized university in Northwest Missouri. All students were enrolled in a Cognitive Psychology class at the same university.
Each participant was given a piece of paper with 20 lines for recall and one line for their gender. A Power Point show of 20 slides with people or objects on them, one slide with the word “start” and one slide with the word “stop” on them were shown to the participants. The people or objects were chosen based upon lists provided by male and female students enrolled in a research methods lab class.
Each participant received a paper with 20 lines for recall and one line for their gender. They were instructed to pay attention to the Power Point show because they would be later asked to recall as many slides as possible. A Power Point slide show was shown to the participants. Slides may be viewed in the appendix. Each slide was consecutively shown for three seconds a piece. After the 20 slides were shown a slide instructed participants to begin recalling. They were given one minute to recall as many slides as possible. After one minute was up another slide instructed them to stop.
RESULTS A 2(gender of participants) X 2(gender associated with image) mixed-design factorial ANOVA was calculated comparing the number of gender associated images recalled by male or female participants. The main effect of the gender of the images was not significant (F (1, 26) =.009, p=.924). The main effect of the gender of the participant had a non-significant trend (F (1, 26) =3.976, p=.057). Finally, the interaction of memory for the different kinds of images depending on gender was also not significant (F91, 26) =2.269, p=.144). Thus, it appears that neither the gender of the participant nor the gender associated with the image has any significant effect on the recall. Males recalled an average of 6.3 male associated images and an average of only 5.7 female associated images. Females recalled an average of 5.4 female associated images and only 4.7 male associated images.
DISCUSSION Merriam-Webster defines memory as the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to see if a person`s gender would significantly affect the recall of gender associated images. It was thought that males would remember male associated images more than females and that females would remember female associated images more than males. It was found that although males did remember more male associated images and females remembered more female associated images there was not a significant enough effect of the gender of the participant on the recall of the images. It was thought that there would be a much greater significance. The results that were found in this study are somewhat similar to the study done by Isabelle Cherney where participants were shown pictures of female associated, male associated or neutral toys. They were then asked to name the toys that they could recall. It was found that males did recall more male associated toys. Although, females recalled more male associated toys as well. In Cherney`s study, it was stated that children ages three to six years old have better recall of toys, objects and activities labeled or stereotyped for their own relative to the opposite sex. Research has also shown that girls tend to like male- stereotyped toys more than boys like female-stereotyped toys. The aspect of males recalling more male associated toys was similar to the findings in this study where males recalled more male associated images. Through studies based on the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey Scale of Values assessment instrument it has been shown that there are strong and consistent differences in the interests, values, and attitudes of females and males (Halpern, 2000). It is assumed that these strong differences in interests would affect the images recalled by either gender. As shown in this study, males recalled an X-box 360 more than females and females recalled a purse more than males. These things were stereotypically associated with the same genders, the X-box 360 was male and the purse was female. Some of the limitations on this study were the amount of participants, the amount of slides shown, and the order in which the slides were presented. In reading the participant`s recall sheets, it was noticed by the researcher that many of the participants recalled the first three slides in the exact order that they were presented.
REFERENCESCherney, I.D., Children’s and adults’ recall of sex-stereotyped toy pictures: effects of presentation and memory task. Infant and Child Development, 14, 11-27.Jausovec, N., & Jausovec, K., Sex differences in brain activity related to general and emotional intelligence. Brain and Cognition, 59(3), 277-86.Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates PublishersHatcher, D.W., & Lawton, C.A., Gender differences in integration of images in visuospatial memory. Sex Roles, 53, 717-24.Merriam-Webster dictionary. Retrieved November 30, 2006, from Merriam-Webster Online website: http://www.m-w.com.