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Does Gender Affect Short-term Memory?

Aishwarya Nirmal Jul 29, 2020
Short-term memory is the ability of our brain to retain information for a short duration of time. Some believe that gender plays a role in affecting this type of memory. Find out whether there is any truth in this statement by reading the following story.
You will find many women complaining that their husbands or boyfriends tend to forget their birthdays and anniversaries, whereas men quetch that their female counterparts cannot find a simple address. The scientific reason behind this tragedy is short-term memory.

What is Short-term Memory?

Generally, many of us remember some childhood memories till date. There are many such incidents that we recollect throughout our lives, without explicitly memorizing them. This phenomenon of storing vast amounts of information in the brain for a long period of time is called long-term memory.
Short-term memory is defined as "the capacity to retain a very small amount of information for a limited time period without memorizing it". This information is gradually forgotten within a few seconds. Also known as primary or active memory, it is responsible for the actions we perform.
Regular brain exercises helps to improve both long-term as well as short-term memory.

Gender and its Effects on Short-term Memory

Numerous experiments have been performed on the basis of various theories to determine which gender has better short-term memory, i.e., which gender has a better capacity to retain recent events. Based on the outcomes, many conclusions are being contemplated.
There are results that prove that men have a better short-term memory since they can remember logical maneuvers like directions, electronic circuitry, etc., very well. Some also say that multitasking, i.e., performing many tasks simultaneously, requires excellent primary memory.
Experiments performed on this basis have shown women to be far better than men; while some experts even believe that primary memory is not gender-biased and entirely depends on the likings of a person and the information retained by a person depends a lot on his/her interest in the topic.
Since guys have a ceaseless love for bikes and traveling, they can memorize the roads effortlessly. And, as women are more involved in family bonding since ages, they can remember lengthy recipes, birthdays, etc., very easily. Of course, all these theories are mere assumptions and do not have any consistent proof.

Short-term Memory Loss

When a person is unable to retain recent incidents, then it is said to be a case of short-term memory loss. It can hamper the person's immediate course of action. Many of us face the problem of forgetfulness in our day-to-day life, but this does not imply that we are having this problem.
When the degree of forgetfulness becomes acute, i.e., if a person is unable to recall any recent events very frequently, he/she maybe suffering from memory loss, whether short-term or long-term.

Short-term Memory Loss and Gender Roles

The causes of short-term memory loss are highly varied in nature. Normally, memory loss is experienced after a certain age, like forty or fifty.
This happens because as we grow older, the body functioning slows down and subsequently the production of the hormones required for efficient memory operation is reduced. In the human nervous system, the memory-related events occur in an area of the brain called hippocampus.
Each time some new information enters the brain, neuron cells, called dentate gyrus, are produced in the hippocampus. The argued theory about primary memory loss is that, in order to create space, the newly produced dentate gyrus cells eliminate the old ones, thus deleting the recently-old memories from the brain.
The probability of such a thing happening in men as well as women is equal. Hence, the chances of short-term memory loss are said to be the same in both the genders.
Men and women have always tried to prove their superiority in the brain-related fields and the argument still continues. This gender-superiority cold war has been going on for a long time and may continue till eternity. Hence, this question can be expected to possibly remain unanswered forever.