A New Study Reveals Something Interesting About Memory and Gender

November 11th 2016

Perhaps there's a reason why men are always asking the women in their lives where to find things around the house. There's a new study which suggests that gender might actually play a role in memory capabilities.

A new study published in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society found that middle-aged women had better memory capabilities than their male counterparts. The study authors asked 212 men and women between the ages of 45-55 to participate and tested them on a broad range of memory functions, including cognitive ability, memorization and semantic processing. Once women experienced menopause, however, their memory skills diminished. 

Jill Goldstein, Ph.D, the senior author of the study, told CBS News that her paper's findings reiterates existing research about memory and gender. "Replicating what previous research has shown, we found that women in general have better verbal memory function than men across all these domains," she explained.

ATTN: reached out to Goldstein for comment and will update with a response when we hear back. 

Previous research backs up the idea that women have better memory capabilities than men.

Dr. Clifford Jack, who researches brain imaging and dementia at the Mayo Clinic, co-authored a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association in May 2015, finding that male memory is worse than female memory. Memory skills decreased for men and women after they hit 30 years old, but women still showed higher levels of memory capability than men. Jack and his colleagues came to this conclusion after studying 1,246 cognitively normal individuals between the ages of 30-95.

"We see worse memory and worse brain volumes in men than women from [age] 40s onward," he told CNN.

Neurologist and study reviewer Dr. Charles DeCarli told CNN that the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, in older male participants was much lower than the hippocampus in women.

DeCarli added, "Women may have developed skills and strategies over our evolutionary development to keep track of stuff that helps their memory that men just never acquired."

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