chapter  8
12 Pages

Sex differences in episodic memory: The where but not the why


Lars-Göran Nilsson’s genuine and deep interest in sex (variations) is well known by his friends and colleagues. Luckily, Lars-Göran has successfully been able to transfer his interest to this academic child and these grandchildren, which is why we in this chapter present an overview of sex differences in episodic memory. Our main messages are that women perform at a substantially higher level than men on verbal episodic memory and face recognition tasks, whereas there are no sex differences on tasks assessing episodic memory for nonverbal information. Men, on the other hand, outperform women on tasks requiring us to remember visuospatial episodic information. Although attempts have been made to explain these differences in terms of sex-specific influences from steroid hormones, we conclude that there is not enough evidence to support this claim at present. Much of the data presented here stem from the longitudinal population-based Betula project on memory, health, and aging, initiated and generously shared by Lars-Göran Nilsson (e.g., Nilsson et al., 1997, 2004).