Gender and emotion in everyday event memory

Memory. 2013;21(4):503-11. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2012.743568. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


While women often recall more detailed and socially oriented event memories than men, it is not clear at which stage of remembering such gender differences emerge. This study investigated this question in a sample of young adults (N=60). A random sampling method was used where participants received a text message three times a day during a 1-week period and were asked to record as soon as they read the message what was happening during the past 30 minutes. At the end of the week they received a surprise memory test for the events that they had recorded. Compared with men, women recorded a greater number of event details at the encoding phase and provided more detailed and accurate memories at the delayed recall, although there was no gender difference in the forgetting function during retention. Gender difference in the social orientation of memory was not apparent until recall. In addition the effects of emotion intensity and valence were observed on the detailedness, accuracy, and content of memory. The findings shed new light on the mechanisms underlying gender differences in episodic memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Episodic*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Social Environment
  • Young Adult