Short-Term Memory

242 views 11 pages ~ 2928 words Print

Are humans designed in such a way that their gender predetermines some of their abilities or qualities from the start? Numerous studies have found that some human characteristics appear to be evolutionarily intrinsic and genetically predetermined. Gender differences, physical adaptations, and immune system capacities are some of the standard aspects that gender predetermines. One of the qualities that gender predetermines, according to psychologists, is significant variance in how males and females remember information in short-term memory. Women outperform males in terms of short-term memory retention, whereas men outperform females in terms of recalling non-linguistic material and symbolic presentations.  The perception that people in the different genders have unique cognitive abilities trace its history back to the ancient Greece though studies have widened people's understanding of the concept. Nevertheless, it is first important to understand how short-term memory works before gaining insight on how it operates in the two genders. Hill, Laird & Robinson (2014) define short memory to be "the ability to withhold a small amount of information for a limited time without memorizing it" (25). Hill, Laird & Robinson (2014) proceed to mention that people tend to forget the information they retain in the short-term memory within seconds unless they reinforce the input to the brain through repetition or other reinforcement strategies. Studies show that women have stronger working or short-term memory compared to men. Hill, Laird & Robinson (2014) write that women can retain more verbal items at ago. Hill, Laird & Robinson (2014) attribute the capability to women's unique capacity to attend to more than one task (multitasking).

However, other studies indicate that men have an advantage in recalling certain aspects that Lawton & Hatcher (2015) refer to as visuospatial information. The visuospatial information may encompass symbols or non-verbal cues that become applicable in different aspects of life. Males, for instance, can quickly locate their way to a particular place even if they are not very certain of the direction. Similarly, men would easily remember particular premises such as a building in a town compared to women who may encounter some hardships recollecting such information. The disparity in the way males and females retain information in the short term memory indicates that even though females outweigh men in particular aspects of maintaining information in the short-term memory, males too have an advantage over women in some ways.

Finally, investigations by researchers such as Holmen, Langballe & Tambs (2013) indicate that gender does not have any significant impact on how humans make use of their short-term memory and that the easiness with which people retain and retrieve information depends on their interest in the topic. Holmen, Langballe & Tambs (2013) carry out a test on a group of students at the University of California with the motive of identifying the disparity between the rate at which males and females retain and reveal information. The study incorporates 50 participants (25 males and 25 females) who all sit inside a classroom. The participants, being students in architecture, go through a one hour lecture whereby the instructor makes use of teaching aids such as charts, literary sources, and PowerPoint presentation to make the presentation easier to understand and more attractive to the participants. The instructor then engages the participants in a series of questions to identify the group that gives many responses based on the information from the lecture. The investigator who employs naturalistic observation finds that the number of female students who provide responses is almost equal to the number of males who give answers. The researcher even realizes that more male participants give answers to questions that require more logical reasoning compared to female students. The researchers conclude from the study that gender does not determine how people of the feminine and masculine genders use the short-term memory, and that the interesting one puts in a topic determines how well they would retrieve information.

Experimenters such as Luo & Craik (2008) however, disagree with the findings by Holmen, Langballe & Tambs (2013) arguing that the study fails to take into consideration that the male brain experiences more bilateral activation compared to the females' brain which creates a difference in how the two genders operate. Luo & Craik (2008) use the concept that cognitive functions tend to be dominant in one hemisphere of the brain over the other and this happens differently in the male and female brains. Luo & Craik (2008) feel that the variation in the way the men and females' brains function must create a difference in the way persons in the two genders make use of the short memory. Luo & Craik (2008) on their part, support the idea that even though women have the ability to recall more verbal information, males are prolific in recalling non-verbal cues.

Research Study

A practical experiment would make it easy to understand how short-term memory works in the two genders. The investigation primarily seeks to find out the gender which has sufficient short-term memory power and can retrieve as more words as possible within a particular time frame. Findings from the study will help to identify whether females have better short-term memory, or if the working memories of both ladies work similarly with men.

Study Design

The research makes use of the qualitative research design to gather information and analyze the data that would lead to the realization of an apt result. The plan focuses on how accurately the study groups recall the input they acquire during the test. The study employs the naturalistic observation method to obtain data from the study group because of the advantages the methodology has in the study. One of the prime benefits of the inspection technique is that the experimenter is in a position to acquire information without any form of distortion that may become evident when the study group becomes aware of undergoing study. The participants, when aware of the researcher's motive, may try to behave in certain ways that may affect the data acquisition process and this is likely to jeopardize the whole process. Nevertheless, the investigators may make use of the survey research methodology to acquire data. The researchers, using this method, ask the participants a series of questions after undergoing the test to inquire about certain issues that may be helpful in finding the suitable solution. The members, for example, may describe the factors that make it difficult to respond to more questions and the factors that help them to answer to more issues. Even though the survey research may help the team to come up with proper solutions, the investigators shall majorly use the naturalistic observation.

The investigation's hypothesis is that women have more valid short-term memory cognition compared to their male counterparts. The short-term memory works more efficiently in women because this population tends to participate in more activities that require the use of the brain (Luo & Craik, 2008). The regular application of cognitive skills makes women's use of the short-term memory more advanced compared to males'.

The investigators work with dependent and independent variables to come up with the appropriate results. The dependent variable for the study would be the number of words the subjects recall, while the independent variable would be the amount of time it takes the participants to go through the questions, as well as how long it takes to recall the words they read. The idea on whether a study group makes use of a colored or white paper will also serve as an independent variable in the experiment.

Apart from the variables that offer guidance throughout the exercise, the investigators make use of certain materials to complete the training. The primary materials in the study include the white and colored sheets of papers that contain the words. The investigators will also make use of a room (a classroom) where all the participants will sit and read the sheets before mentioning all the words they can remember. Every participant will have a pen which will become handy during the process of recalling the phrase, and at the second phase of the study when the participants shall respond to a set of questions in a questionnaire which also serves as a valuable material in the process. Additionally, the investigators will use notebooks where they record significant points, and finally, the team will need some money to make the process successful. The participants who take part in the process shall get some money as a way of showing appreciation for their participation, and they will also get something to eat. The investigators further need money to acquire some of the essential materials such as pens and notebooks.


The study brings together 20 male participants and 20 females who all work at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The participant's age range from 25-35 but the researchers do not consider other factors such as religion or cultural affiliation. The ladies stay on their side while the men sit separately to make it easy to control the two groups. The experimenters hand over a white sheet of paper with colored words to the ladies and give the male participants a piece of colored paper with words written in black and white. The investigators meet the members after two days, but this time he gives the white sheet with colored words to the males and the colored sheet with black and white words to the females. All the participants in the two instances have exactly two minutes to go through the phrase and two minutes and a half to write down all the words they can remember.

The researchers remain keen during the entire process to observe how the females and males participate in the whole process. The group in charge of the exercise takes notes in areas that they feel are important, and which may need further scrutiny or analysis. The observers acquire data so professionally to erase any form of suspicion which may affect the undertaking. Morrow & Crivello (2015) caution investigators who choose to use the naturalistic observation strategy from acting in a manner that generates doubt from the team that serves as the respondents. The authors warn against making prolonged direct stares and further states that the process of acquiring data using naturalistic observation should be as secretive as possible (Morrow & Crivello, 2015). Morrow & Crivello (2015) proceed to mention that the respondents may try to put a false impression when they are aware of the investigator's intentions. The group in charge of the survey takes heed of Morrow and Crivello's advice and acts in secret which gives it the opportunity to gather as many information as possible.

The group that takes charge of the experiment also uses questionnaires to engage the participants after the reciting process elapses. The post-experiment questions help the researchers to identify the respondents' experience during the reading and reciting. The questionnaires, for example, ask the participants to describe how they encountered the memory test. The participants also have to explain their strengths and weaknesses when using the short-term memory. Additionally, the questionnaires ask the respondents to briefly describe how they plan to improve their use of the short-term memory. Lastly, the respondents give a description of any other important issue that they noted during the exercise, and as the questionnaire puts it, the participant is free to give anything that they decide to inform the investigators.


The study reveals that in the two instances, the female members provide more responses compared to their male counterparts. Using sheets of papers that have different colors create some variations in the way the participants acquire, recall, and bring out the information. However, only a large number of girls can take advantage of the writings that are colorful in nature. Only 15 girls out of the 20 can recall more than 70% of the words they read on the white sheet with colored words but the number increases to 18 girls when exposed to the colored sheets of papers. The number of males, who can recall the words they read, on the contrary, remains low regardless of the color of the paper sheet they read. Only 15 men can recite the expression on the colored sheet, and the number goes down to 12 when exposed to the white sheet. More ladies also complete the recalling process much faster compared to the men who take longer to list all the words they can remember. The researchers note that 80% of the female participants submit the words they remember within the first 2 minutes in comparison to a large number of males (74%) who only present the words they recall after the entire 2 and a half minutes elapse.

The investigators further note from the questionnaires, that more ladies find the memory test to be easier compared to the men who encounter some hardships. At least 50% of the males admit that the test is challenging while only 80% of the ladies agree to have experienced constraints in completing the test. The survey research also reveals that more men have more weaknesses in using their short-term memory compared to females. However, both groups show similar interest to improve how they retain information in the short-term memory. The survey research clearly points out that men and women know the importance of keeping information in the short-term memory for longer periods. Zulpkiply et al. (2008) assert that individuals who have better short-term memories have advanced cognitive capabilities compared to persons who find it difficult to recall the information they receive a few minutes or even seconds ago. Zulpkiply et al. (2008) continue to argue that persons who can retain and recall more information in the working memory are likely to hold information in the long-term memory without any hardships contrary to individuals who hardly keep information in the short-term memory. Finally, the investigators realize from the responses in the questionnaires that more men give opinions about notifications that many ladies do not understand. The men, for instance, can note that the some of the words on the questionnaire are so small which made it difficult to master as many words as possible. Some males even recommend that the acquisition process would be easier if the phrases are equally spread across the sheets of papers (colored and white) which have enough space.


The investigation proves the studies by other scholars that females have better short-term memory compared to males who are only good at recalling non-verbal cues. The ladies outweigh men in remembering the words they read, and this concurs with the hypothesis that females tend to retain more information in the short-term memory compared to people of the masculine gender. The study further proves that men's short-term memory works well when recalling non-verbal cues. Even though one might argue that if one party is strong but weak at one point, then no party overpowers the other, it is evident that the range of which the females remember things that happen a few minutes ago is much higher than the number of males who have similar capabilities. Even though girls may have better working memories compared to men, Zulpkiply et al. (2008) believe that men can improve how their short-term memory works by engaging in appropriate practices. The author mentions that individuals can participate in regular readings exercises, and can also acquire information from different sources on how they can improve how their working memory functions. Zulpkiply et al. (2008) give an example of physical fitness which he terms to be a predetermined human feature. He states that even though men may have a stronger physical structure, ladies can engage in physical fitness practices that make them equally stronger.

Ethical Concerns

The investigators take some factors into consideration to make the study successful. First, they ensure that no one is blind to allow everyone read the words that are on the separate sheets. Blind people would neither be able to read the expressions nor will they be able to write down the words to identify how well they can recall. The investigators, as noted earlier, will not select the participants on a discriminative basis to avoid sending the impression that they are discriminative in the way they carry out their undertakings. Lastly, the investigators make sure that they consider the opinion of every participant to give every person the opportunity to contribute towards the process. The study group, for example, is free to ask any questions in areas that they do not understand. The males and females who take part in the study are also free to give suggestions that they think will improve the process.


Investigations reveal that the short-term memory in women work more efficiently compared to how it functions in males. A study which requires men and women to recall and put down as many words as they can from a set of words previously exposed to the respondents affirms that ladies have the capacity to remember more words than persons who belong to the masculine gender. Males, however, have a higher ability to recall non-verbal cues though this ability does not give them an advantage over their female colleagues.


Hill, A., Laird, A., & Robinson, J. (2014). Gender differences in working memory networks: A

brain map meta-analysis. Biological Psychology, 3(1), 18-29.

Holmen, J., Langballe, E., & Tambs, K. (2013). Gender differences in subjective memory

impairment in a general population: The HUNT study, Norway. BMC Psychology, 1, 19-


Lawton, C., & Hatcher, D. (2015). Gender differences in integration of images in visuospatial

memory. Sex Roles, 53(9), 717-725.

Luo, L., & Craik, F. (2008). Aging and memory. A cognitive approach. Canadian Journal of

Psychiatry, 53(6), 346-353.

Morrow, V., & Crivello, G. (2015). What is the value of qualitative longitudinal research with

children and young people for international development? International Journal of Social

Research Methodology, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 267-280.

Zulpkiply, N., Adruce, Z., Ahmad, S., & Kartini, A. (2008). Gender and educational stream

differences in memory retention for verbal and non-verbal tasks. International Journal of

Learning, 15(3), 221-225.

April 19, 2023




Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Gender Identity
Verified writer

When you require an expert in social sciences, Tim1134 is the safest bet! Sharing my task for a paper revision, my writer understood every comment and kept my back safe. Professional attitude for every task that you may have!

Hire Writer

Use this essay example as a template for assignments, a source of information, and to borrow arguments and ideas for your paper. Remember, it is publicly available to other students and search engines, so direct copying may result in plagiarism.

Eliminate the stress of research and writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro