Memory word recall | MyPaperHub


The ability of men and women to recall words, events and also experiences are a result of the memory that they have of such events and capacity to recall them. Recalls in memory are the mental processes that involve the retrieval of the information that is essential in the present and yet was stored in the past. There has been growing evidence hypothesizing that word recall is better in females than males. The research methodology taken up by the study is the experimental method of research. The study involved 39 participants of whom 19 were male and 20 females. There was the direct manipulation of the variables that existed in the experiment so as to scientifically test the hypothesis. The results indicate a significant difference in the words remembered with gender differences, and also, age becoming very apparent. The research further found out that across all the sexes, ages and also educational levels, there was a significant indication that the individuals mostly remembered the words presented at the beginning and the end of the study. Therefore, the study confirms the hypothesis that word recall is better in females than males.

Key words:

Word recall




Memory refers to all the processes that are involved in the acquisition, retention and later retrieval of information. It is our memory that enables an individual to access information or even words that they have come across in the past. There are also some several aspects of the human characteristics that are considered to be genetically predetermined and also innate in the evolutionary terms. Over the course of time, there are several psychologists that continue to assert that there are significant sex differences in the short term memory and also the episodic memory which is a type of long-term memory based on personal experiences for the women over the men. The ability of men and women to recall words, events and also experiences are a result of the memory that they have of such events and capacity to recall them (Gotoh, 2012). Recall in memory are the mental processes that involve the retrieval of the information that is essential in the present and yet was stored in the past. It is one of the three core processes of the memory going along the encoding and storage of memories. There are three types of recalling that is the free recall, serial recall, and the cued recall (Murdock, 1962). The free recall is engaged in describing the process in which a person is given a list of words or items to memorize and then asked to remember as many words randomly in any order as they can be able to remember. The free recall has a high level of indications of the recency and primacy effects than any other of the three types of recall (Murdock, 1962). Cued recall, on the other hand, involves a person being given a list of items or words and is then tasked to remember them through being given some Cues to the material. The serial recall is the capacity to remember things, events or words in the order by which they occurred. If the words were lined up in a certain order, the individual is required to recall them in that given system (Murdock, 1962). The ability of each person to remember things as stored in the memory is the cornerstone to the acquisition and use of any language and also for communication. Imagine a case of remembering segments of a sentence but in the wrong order. It would result in distorted language and hence bar the discussion.

Literature review

There are clear individual differences in the acquisition of language and also in other demonstrations of the capacity of an individual to recall things in certain order. Some children acquire language than others; some people remember things faster and better than others and can even learn more in a shorter time frame than others (Gotoh, 2012). It is all dependent on the individual differences. However, there is research that indicates that gender differences are a significant factor to language acquisition and also in memory. From an early age, the girls have been documented to outpace then boys in language acquisition as they demonstrate a larger vocabulary use as compared to their male counterparts of the same age. The presence of the disparity on language acquisition is what may point to a distinction in the memories of the men from that of the women.

Two Psychologists named Agneta Herlitz and Jenny Rehnman from Sweden asserts that there exists significant disparity between men and females in their episodic memory. It is because; they carried out an experiment whereby they tested whether the sex of an individual affected their ability to remember events that occurred in their lives. To their surprise, the women were better at remembering the events in their lives as compared to their male counterparts (Guillem & Mograss, 2005). The precise results pointed to the fact that the woman excelled in verbal episodic memory tasks that included remembering words, objects, everyday events and also pictures. The men were found out to be better at recalling nonlinguistic, characteristic information referred to as the visuospatial processing. A man would be in a position to remember their way out of a huge thicket or woods than a woman would be able to perform. However, the tasks that require verbal and visuospatial processing the women outperform the men (Guillem & Mograss, 2005).

There are gender differences noted in the past studies indicating that there are differences regarding language abilities, memory, cognitive processing style and also neuropsychology across the genders. However, there is still unclear research on whether the gender disparities would be present t in the recall of neutral and also emotionally arousing words. Allen and Baddeley (2009) conducted a research on 71 students from the University of Johannesburg. She presented a list of words to the participants. The words were related regarding valence and arousal (Gotoh, 2012). They were used to test the recall of the neutral, negative and positive emotive words for the participants. The study indicated that the statistically significant difference between the female and male participants in the recalling of the neutral words and also the total recall of the words existed in a major way. The female participants recalled more words than the male participants.

Dan Yarmey (1991) asserts that women are in a better position to remember their mistakes than the men do in most cases. Dan Yarmey (1991) conducted an eyewitness study and found out that the women provided mire weighty and accurate information when it came to recalling the scene as it looked. Moreover, after a presentation is done, there are indications that the crowd is in a position to remember the information taught by a female presenter more than that taught by a male presenter. It is because women have better acoustics when it comes to their voices. They are easily able to range from a high tone to low tones, and it is the range achieved by their voices that result to an increase semantic encoding because the pitch of their voices is capable of stimulating the auditory aspects of the brain (Guillem & Mograss, 2005). It is this that further creates a real resonance with the ears and also helps the people to maintain their attention better and for longer within the presentations. As the pitch changes, there are also words that stand out and therefore are easier for storage in the memory and also in the creation of cues that are essential at memory retrieval and recall later. Then recall is easy because there are also associations made between the words and the sounds produced during such a speech. However, the gender disparity in this context is that the females respond better to nonverbal cues whereas the males respond better to the verbal cues. As a result, the women pay more attention to the body language and also the gestures used in the communication whereas the men pay more attention to the words used and the emphasis that is put on such wordings to create their cues (Herlitz & Rehnman, 2008)

Justification of the study

Some researchers have attached the premise that women are better at recalling words than the male counterparts to some theories. One of the most significant explaining theories is the desensitization approach that involves the falling of response to the emotionally arousing material as a result of the continuous exposure to the aversive stimuli over time. Another major explanation attached to the difference in gender on recalling was that the sexes are different and therefore are subject to individual differences as well (Herlitz & Rehnman, 2008).  Critics to some of the researchers also point out that most of the words used by the researchers in such recall studies may not have had words that are all holistic and that they may not have had the desired effect on all of the participants hence the difference in response. It is this that led to the recommendation of the future researchers to develop a database of words that can be rated concerning the valence and also arousal by the sample of the population of interest. The language proficiency of the participants also needs to be ascertained and taken as a variable during the research.

Aim of the study

The study aims at determining whether word recall is better in females than males through developing research that is objective e and also free from any form of variables. It aims at closing the gap left by the former researchers criticized of conducting studies by use of words and listings that are not objective and also do not cause an equal effect to all the members. It also aims at considering the level of education and hence the degree of language acquisition of individuals and also their age before making a generalization since they are some of the extraneous variables that were not previously considered.





Null hypothesis: Word recall is not better in females than males

Alternative hypothesis: Word recall is better in females than males


The research methodology taken up by the study is the experimental method of research. There was the direct manipulation of the variables that existed in the experiment so as to scientifically test the hypothesis. There was also the establishment of a cause and effect relationship after a careful measurement was conducted on the existing variables. The researcher took up the methodology because it offers an objective view since it dies not encompass the opinion of the researcher but just measures the data as is collected and presented for analysis and drawing of inference. It is therefore more valid and has less bias. Te experiment was also a field experiment because it was done in the real life of the participants that were sampled. The researcher manipulated the independent variable but within the real life settings. It was conducted in the manner to ensure that the participants are comfortable and also are more likely to reflect the real life experiences as they are in the natural settings. Their comfort would also offer a higher ecological validity since they were less tense. It also reduced the effect of the demand characteristics since it requires the individuals to act as natural as possible unlike if they are in a set up where they feel they are pressured to perform and hence may lead to biased results and also affect their performance. However, the control left extraneous variables was very difficult in the study and hence its replication as I engaged one participant after another was very difficult.

Design: The research was done in the natural settings of the individuals whose consent was first required and were also assured of the confidentiality of the information and that the data they provided would not result to any incrimination on either of the individuals. There were 15 words presented to the participants to read and recall while a timer was set for 15 seconds as they named the words that they could recall. The words that were presented included: Diet, Drama, Key, Fountain, Library, Truth, Mirror, Whistle, Staple, Pyramid, Aid, Sea, Mostly, Bandage and Water. The recalling of the words was a free recall whereby the participants were allowed to remember any words in any given order. The words were however presented in the order listed above with the Diet being the first word and water being the last word in the listing for all the participants. There was no order of remembering the words that was required. Every word was presented for one to two seconds to ensure that there is uniformity and also to reduce the extraneous variables. The individuals selected were also individuals that were conversant with English language and could communicate orally.

The independent variables were the genders that are either female or male, the education level of the individual and also the phonological familiarity of the words. The dependent variables intended to capture the success of learning the words and also the recall accuracy of the individuals within 15 seconds of the presentation of the words. The responses of the individual were coded with a tick for every word remembered, and it is these ticks that were later calibrated and recorded on an Excel sheet to that contained the other information such as age and educational level of the participant. Therefore, the dependent variable was categorical in nature and also distributed in a binomial manner.

Participants: The researcher randomly selected 39 participants from the general population. The participants were randomly selected and by the end of the research out of the 41 participants, there were 20 female participants and 19 male participants to engage in the study. The female and male participants were selected from all ages and their ages recorded before they are presented with a list of names and then the words recalled after 15 seconds recorded accordingly.  All the participants in the research were native language speakers. All the learned the same words to ensure that there is uniformity and also to eliminate the possible extraneous variables.

Procedure: Each sampled participant was read out the particular words one at a time in a given order. Each word was read out to the participant at least two times, and the participant instructed to say the word out loud. Upon being read to, all the 15 words, they were requested to begin recalling the words they had read over 15 seconds. A timer was set so that they start with its pressing and with its beep they stop. The researcher ticked all the words that the participants recalled accurately in any given order, and the number of words was recorded at the end of the experiment.


 The major questions that drove the analysis of the results were the following:

•        Is there a significant difference of gender on the ability to recall words?

•        Does the education level have an effect on the capacity to remember words among the male and female participants of the study?

•        Which age cohort was able to recall the majority of the words across the genders?

•        Is there a relationship between, gender age and the educational level of the ability to recall words among the participants?

•        Does the presentation of words have an effect on the capacity of either gender to recall words?

The results of the study are indicated in the table below: (email us for the table)

There was a significant difference in the words remembered with gender differences, and also, age becoming very apparent (Table 1). The young participants between the ages of 17 and 35 from both sexes were able to recall more words than their older counterparts. The youthful male participants were able to remember more words than their older male counterparts, but their words were less than those of the female counterparts. However, the young male individuals were able to recall more words even than the female older participants (Table 1). The older male counterparts were the ones that could remember the fewest words out of all the cohorts in the study. That us they recalled fewer words than the female seniors and also than the male and female juniors.

The dependent variable of the educational level did not have any significant effect since there was no noticeable or significant difference in the words recalled according to the educational level differences (Table 1). Individuals from high school, HS Diploma, Bachelors, and some college all remembered varying words depending on the person and not their educational level (Table 1).

Across all the genders, ages and also educational levels, there was a significant indication that the individuals mostly remembered the words presented at the beginning and the end of the study. The first three words and the last four words were easily remembered by the majority of the participants regardless of the gender, sex or the educational level (Table 1).



There is increased evidence that the women outshine the men when it comes to recalling words in lists over a short time frame. Such lists and information stored over a short period are stored in the short-term memory, and the women have consistently been found to have an advantage over their male counterparts (Guillem & Mograss, 2005). It is a hypothesis that has been proved and also demonstrated in the research above and also as indicated by the results. The women despite their age are better at storing of words and subsequent recalling over a short time frame over the male counterparts in the same age group. The research was able to identify other areas that were subject to criticism over the assertion that the women were better at recalling listed words. The critics argued that it was possible that extraneous variables such as the level of education of the participants may have affected the previous researchers (Herlitz & Rehnman, 2008). However, this research has proven that despite the degree of education, the women were better at recalling the listed words than the men. Moreover, they were all studied in a grouping of individuals that are fluent and also native English speakers with the words presented being familiar to all the participants and still held the hypothesis that the women could spell better than the men in the same age grouping.

The participants were also able to recall the words presented at the beginning and the end more than the words at the middle of the list. It is due to a phenomenon referred to as the serial position effect (Guillem & Mograss, 2005). The serial position effect is the tendency of an individual to recall items at the beginning and also the end of a list at best and remembering words at the middle of the list are the worst remembered. Hermann Ebbinghaus coined the after performing a series of experiments on himself. It is very much common especially in the case of the study where the participants were asked to free recall the words presented. The Serial Position Effect is divided into the primacy and recency effects on individual’s ability to recall listed words. The participants were able to recall the last few words that were presented with ease and therefore this phenomenon is called the recency effect. The primacy effect on the individuals was visible when the participants were also able to remember the words on the list that were presented the first ones more than they could recall the middle words (Burman, Bitan & Booth, 2007).

The research further indicated the increased deterioration of the ability to recall among the individual, as they aged. The women remained the best at recalling at all ages but their ability to remember the words lessened with age, and so was the case with the male participants. There is an overwhelming research agreement to the assertion that recall performance across the genders declines with aging (Craik & Salthouse, 2000). As individuals age, their ability to remember also goes lower as a result of other factors such as reduced attention for the case of the short term memory and also memory decay in the event of the long-term memory. Therefore, the research is in agreement with the assertion.

The research was instrumental in addressing the criticism leveled against the hypothesis of women being better at recalling than the men. It presented a variety of variables that were considered to ensure that there was the elimination of a possible bias based on some of the extraneous variables such as age and also education level (Burman, Bitan & Booth, 2007). It was also able to make an analysis of the gender differences that are cross-referenced and compared against all the other dependent variable that may be affecting an individual so as to ensure that the hypothesis is objective and also can be generalized. However, the primary challenge and shortcoming of the research were that it did not consider the learning styles of the participants while presenting the words to them for memorization and then recalling (Craik & Salthouse, 2000).  Some of the individuals may be slower at the hearing and also mastering of the words and hence the individual differences presented a challenge. Moreover, the learning styles of the participants were also not put into consideration since each person has a unique way that they learn and master things. The research made the assumption that all the participants were comfortable with the auditory style of learning as the words were read out to them. The participants that are more visual or aesthetic may have been overlooked and hence resulted in a biased result of the number of words they could master.

Conclusion/ Recommendation

There is overwhelming evidence from the research that point to the hypothesis that word recall is better in females than males. It is as a result of addressing the concerns of some of the critics regarding the assertion that had previously been proved by other researchers in the field of psychology. However, the research presents a problem on the factoring in of the learning styles of the individuals when conducting the experiment. It is, therefore, imperative that future studies on the issue to illuminate on whether the learning styles of individuals have a significant effect on recalling across the genders (Guillem & Mograss, 2005)

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