Send to

Choose Destination
Memory. 2003 Jan;11(1):27-42.

Representation of the inner self in autobiography: women's and men's use of internal states language in personal narratives.

Author information

Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455-0345, USA.


Adult women and men differ in the affective qualities of their autobiographical reports. In the present study, we tested whether gender differences in emotional content are apparent in memories of both the remote past and the recent past, as well as whether they extend to internal states other than emotion. A total of 48 women and 30 men provided written accounts of four events from early in life (events from before age 7) and four events from later in life (events from age 7 or later). The narratives were coded for mention of emotions, cognitions, perceptions, and physiological states. Women used more emotion terms in their descriptions of events from later in life, relative to men; across life phases, similar trends were observed for cognition and perception terms, but not for physiological states terms. The category of internal states terms was found to be more coherent for women than for men. Results are consistent with suggestions that females and males experience differential socialisation regarding expression of internal states.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center