Gender-Linked Differences in the Incidental Memory of Children and Adults

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

The hunter–gatherer theory (M. Eals & I. Silverman, 1994,Ethology and Sociobiology,15, 95–105) predicts that females should have better incidental memory for objects and locations than males. We tested this prediction with 3- to 6-year-old children (Study 1) and adults (Study 2). In Study 1, 80 children were asked to recognize 18 gender-stereotyped toys which they had previously seen in a playroom for 2 min. In Study 2, 40 adults were asked to recall the identity and location of 30 gender-stereotyped objects which they had previously seen in an office for 2 min. Analyses in both studies indicated that females and males remembered more toys or objects congruent with their own sex but that there was no overall advantage for females. Implications for the hunter–gatherer theory, gender-schema theory, and our understanding of the development of incidental memory are discussed.