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Women remember more faces than men do
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2007 (English)In: Acta Psychologica, ISSN 0001-6918, E-ISSN 1873-6297, Vol. 124, no 3, 344-355 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Women have been found to outperform men on face recognition tasks, specifically in the recognition of female faces. Men do not seem to exhibit a corresponding own-sex bias. To examine the generality and possible reasons for these patterns, 107 men and 112 women viewed faces of both children and adults of either Swedish or Bangladeshi origin, for later recognition. As expected, women were especially good at remembering female faces, but also outperformed men on male faces. Men did not show an own-sex bias. Thus, regardless of age and ethnicity of the faces, women performed at a higher level than men on both female and male faces, possibly reflecting enhanced interest in faces, and in particular, female faces.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V. , 2007. Vol. 124, no 3, 344-355 p.
Keyword [en]
Episodic memory; Face recognition; Gender schema; Own-sex bias; Sex differences
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24111DOI: doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2006.04.004ISI: 000245502300006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-24111DiVA: diva2:196783
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6636Available from: 2007-02-20 Created: 2007-02-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The role of gender in face recognition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of gender in face recognition
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Faces constitute one of the most important stimuli for humans. Studies show that women recognize more faces than men, and that females are particularly able to recognize female faces, thus exhibiting an own-sex bias. In the present thesis, three empirical studies investigated the generality of sex differences in face recognition and the female own-sex bias. Study I explored men’s and women’s face recognition performance for Bangladeshi and Swedish female and male faces of adults and children. Result showed sex differences, favoring women, for all face categories. Study II assessed boys’ and girls’ ability to recognize female and male faces from two age- and ethnic groups. The result demonstrated that girls recognize more faces than boys do, but that no sex differences were present for Swedish male faces. The results from Study I and II consistently demonstrate that females show reliable own-sex biases independent of whether the female faces were young, old, or of Bangladeshi or Swedish origin. In an attempt to explain the mechanisms of sex differences in face recognition and the female own-sex bias, Study III investigated men’s and women’s recognition performance for androgynous faces, either labeled “men”, “women”, or “faces”. The result showed that women told to remember “women” recognized more faces than women told to remember faces labeled “men” or “faces”, and that sex differences were present for androgynous faces, regardless of the label. Based on these findings, it is suggested that females’ attention is in particular directed towards other females, resulting in an own-sex bias. It is also suggested that there may be a difference in females’ and males’ orientation toward other individuals. This difference can have a biological base, which together with socialization may result in sex differences in face recognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen, 2007. 69 p.
Keyword
Face recognition, Sex differences, Own-sex bias, Own-group bias, Attention, Biology, Socialization, Psychobiosocial
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6636 (URN)91-7155-384-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-03-15, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-02-20 Created: 2007-02-20Bibliographically approved

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