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Memory Capabilities Vary by Gender and Change Over Time

Memory Capabilities Vary by Gender and Change Over Time

Emerging research suggests middle-aged women outperform age-matched men on all memory measures, although memory does decline as women enter post-menopause.

The finding supports the contention that women can remember things longer and better than men.

Memory loss, unfortunately, is a well-documented consequence of the aging process. Epidemiological estimates suggest that approximately 75 percent of older adults report memory-related problems.

Among women, increased forgetfulness and “brain fog” during the menopause transition is common. In addition, women are disproportionately at risk for memory impairment and dementia compared with men.

Despite these conditions working against them, middle-aged women still outscore their similarly aged male counterparts on all memory measures, according to the study.

The cross-sectional study of 212 men and women aged 45 to 55 years assessed episodic memory, executive function, semantic processing, and estimated verbal intelligence through cognitive testing.

Associative memory and episodic verbal memory were assessed using a Face-Name Associative Memory Exam and Selective Reminding Test.

In addition to comparing sex differences, the study also found that premenopausal and perimenopausal women outperformed postmenopausal women in a number of key memory areas.

Declines in estradiol levels in postmenopausal women were specifically associated with lower rates of initial learning and retrieval of previously recalled information, while memory storage and consolidation were maintained.

“Brain fog and complaints of memory issues should be taken seriously,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, the executive director of The North American Menopause Society.

“This study and others have shown that these complaints are associated with memory deficits.”

Source: The North American Menopause Society

Memory Capabilities Vary by Gender and Change Over Time

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Memory Capabilities Vary by Gender and Change Over Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 10 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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