A new study finds for the first time that men, on average, think they are more forgetful than women.
The results come from a large study of 48,000 people, conducted in Norway (Holmen et al., 2013).
In the study, people were asked nine questions about how good they think their memory is.
The questions asked included:
- Whether they had problems remembering names and dates.
- How good they were at remembering details of conversations.
- If they could remember what they were doing one year ago.
For eight of the nine questions men reported more problems with their memory.
Professor Jostein Holmen, the lead author of the study, explained the results:
“It was surprising to see that men forget more than women. This has not been documented before. It was also surprising to see that men are just as forgetful whether they are 30 or 60 years old. The results were unambiguous.”
The explanation for these findings is beyond them. Holmen said:
“We have speculated a lot about why men report more frequent problems with remembering than women do, but have not been able to find an explanation. This is still an unsolved mystery.”
Across all the categories of questions it was names and dates that people found the hardest to remember.
Naturally the study only looks at people’s perception of how good or bad their memory is–it is not an objective measure.
Still, the importance of looking at subject memory impairment is to see if it might predict cognitive problems in the future, like dementia.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Daniela Vladimirova