Gender differences in adult word learning

Margarita Kaushanskaya*, Viorica Marian, Jeewon Yoo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

In prior work, women were found to outperform men on short-term verbal memory tasks. The goal of the present work was to examine whether gender differences on short-term memory tasks are tied to the involvement of long-term memory in the learning process. In Experiment 1, men and women were compared on their ability to remember phonologically-familiar novel words and phonologically-unfamiliar novel words. Learning of phonologically-familiar novel words (but not of phonologically-unfamiliar novel words) can be supported by long-term phonological knowledge. Results revealed that women outperformed men on phonologically-familiar novel words, but not on phonologically-unfamiliar novel words. In Experiment 2, we replicated Experiment 1 using a within-subjects design, and confirmed gender differences on phonologically-familiar, but not on phonologically-unfamiliar stimuli. These findings are interpreted to suggest that women are more likely than men to recruit native-language phonological knowledge during novel word-learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalActa psychologica
Volume137
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • Gender differences
  • Learning & Memory 2343
  • Linguistics & Language & Speech 2720
  • Phonology
  • Short-term memory
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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