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Some evidence of a female advantage in object location memory using ecologically valid stimuli

Lookup NU author(s): Lee Hutton, Nicola Tildesley


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A female advantage in object recall is assumed to derive from an adaptation to gathering/foraging. Support for the Gathering Hypothesis has relied upon stimuli and methodologies that lack ecological validity. We report two studies in which object recognition and object location memory were addressed using real plants within naturalistic arrays. In the first, females were significantly quicker than males at finding specific plants in some small arrays, and they made significantly fewer mistakes in a larger array. Next, females also located plants in a large and complex array significantly faster than males. We thus find some support for the Gathering Hypothesis using ecologically valid methods.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Neave N, Hamilton C, Hutton L, Tildesley N, Pickering AT

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Nature

Year: 2005

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 146-163

ISSN (print): 1045-6767

ISSN (electronic): 1936-4776


DOI: 10.1007/s12110-005-1001-8