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Brain Cogn. 1997 Aug;34(3):323-36.

Sex differences in visual recognition memory: support for a sex-related difference in attention in adults and children.

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  • 1San Diego State University, CA, USA.


The selectivity hypothesis of Meyers-Levy (1989) proposes that cognitive sex differences reflect underlying differences in information processing between males and females. Males are considered to be more likely to organize information in a self-related manner, whereas females are more likely to adopt a comprehensive approach to information processing. We tested this hypothesis in children (10-15 years) and adults using recognition memory tasks. Tests were devised which employed male-oriented objects, female oriented objects, or random objects. In both the child and adult samples, females performed significantly better than males on tests using random and female-oriented objects. Males performed at the level of females only when tested for recognition of male-oriented objects. These results demonstrate that this sex difference is present prior to puberty and support the concept of sex differences in information processing.

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