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Gender -linked differences in the development of incidental and intentional memory for static and dynamic stimuli

Isabelle Denise Cherney, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of the current study was to examine the predictions of the “hunter-gatherer” (Silverman & Eats, 1992) and gender-schema (Martin & Halverson, 1981) theories with respect to gender-linked differences in spatial and object memory of children and adults. A total of 160 five- to thirteen-year-old children and adults participated. Each participant was randomly assigned to either the incidental (INC) or the intentional (INT) memory condition. In this repeated-measures design, each participant viewed a total of 36 sex-stereotyped static and dynamic toy pictures and was asked to recall the previously seen toys after a filler task. In general, the results did not support the evolutionary hypothesis, but they did, in part, confirm gender schema theory. Congruent with the gender-schema theory, there was no overall memory advantage for males or females across the two conditions. On average, males and females remembered an equal number of objects. Overall, the participants recalled more static toy pictures than dynamic pictures. Also, with age, the participants recalled more stimuli. This pattern was significant also across memory conditions. As predicted, males and females recalled more objects in the INT than in the INC memory condition. Consistent with gender-schema theory, the results revealed a weak interaction between sex of the participant and the sex-stereotyped toys. In the INC condition, males remembered more male stereotyped toys than female and neutral stereotyped toys, and females recalled more female and male stereotyped objects than neutral stereotyped objects. The pattern of recall was different in the INT condition, suggesting that the mechanisms of these two types of memory are somewhat distinct. According to the present findings, there is no emergence of cognitive sex differences in a task using either incidental or intentional memory that assesses static or dynamic sex-stereotyped stimuli. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Cherney, Isabelle Denise, "Gender -linked differences in the development of incidental and intentional memory for static and dynamic stimuli" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3016309.