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Memory. 2011 Oct;19(7):723-32. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2010.516266. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Gender differences in autobiographical memory for everyday events: retrieval elicited by SenseCam images versus verbal cues.

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  • 1Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. peggyls@wjh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Gender differences are frequently observed in autobiographical memory (AM). However, few studies have investigated the neural basis of potential gender differences in AM. In the present functional MRI (fMRI) study we investigated gender differences in AMs elicited using dynamic visual images vs verbal cues. We used a novel technology called a SenseCam, a wearable device that automatically takes thousands of photographs. SenseCam differs considerably from other prospective methods of generating retrieval cues because it does not disrupt the ongoing experience. This allowed us to control for potential gender differences in emotional processing and elaborative rehearsal, while manipulating how the AMs were elicited. We predicted that males would retrieve more richly experienced AMs elicited by the SenseCam images vs the verbal cues, whereas females would show equal sensitivity to both cues. The behavioural results indicated that there were no gender differences in subjective ratings of reliving, importance, vividness, emotion, and uniqueness, suggesting that gender differences in brain activity were not due to differences in these measures of phenomenological experience. Consistent with our predictions, the fMRI results revealed that males showed a greater difference in functional activity associated with the rich experience of SenseCam vs verbal cues, than did females.

PMID:
20981611
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3190064
Free PMC Article
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