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Memory. 2013;21(7):857-74. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2013.765892. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Gender differences in episodic memory and visual working memory including the effects of age.

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a Center of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation , University of Bremen , Bremen , Germany.


Analysing the relationship between gender and memory, and examining the effects of age on the overall memory-related functioning, are the ongoing goals of psychological research. The present study examined gender and age group differences in episodic memory with respect to the type of task. In addition, these subgroup differences were also analysed in visual working memory. A sample of 366 women and 330 men, aged between 16 and 69 years of age, participated in the current study. Results indicate that women outperformed men on auditory memory tasks, whereas male adolescents and older male adults showed higher level performances on visual episodic and visual working memory measures. However, the size of gender-linked effects varied somewhat across age groups. Furthermore, results partly support a declining performance on episodic memory and visual working memory measures with increasing age. Although age-related losses in episodic memory could not be explained by a decreasing verbal and visuospatial ability with age, women's advantage in auditory episodic memory could be explained by their advantage in verbal ability. Men's higher level visual episodic memory performance was found to result from their advantage in visuospatial ability. Finally, possible methodological, biological, and cognitive explanations for the current findings are discussed.

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