The role of attentional resources in explaining sex differences in object location memory

Efrat Barel
Published Online:
25 Oct 2016
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 53 Issue 5

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Sex differences in object location memory have been widely studied, with mixed results. The role of attention in mediating the female advantage in object location memory has not been clearly understood yet. Two experiments, involving 181 participants and using an actual object array, were conducted in the present study to examine two learning conditions: incidental and intentional. In each experiment, participants were randomly assigned to divided versus full attention conditions. The study also examined memorizing location‐maintained and location‐exchanged objects. In both experiments, in both incidental and intentional learning conditions, women outperformed men in memorizing location‐exchanged objects in the full but not in the divided attention condition. These findings confirm and extend previous ones concerning the conditions under which the female advantage in the detection of change in an array of objects occurs. The findings are discussed within an evolutionary conceptual framework.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science