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# The Effects of Gender Identity on Short-Term Memory

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Source:
Author: Julianne Blair Bochinski

### Purpose

To graph and compare the effects of gender identity on the short-term memories of varying age groups of children.

### Materials Needed

• 50 human subjects:

5 boys and 5 girls in 1st grade

5 boys and 5 girls in 2nd grade

5 boys and 5 girls in 3rd grade

5 boys and 5 girls in 4th grade

5 boys and 5 girls in 5th grade

• grid containing 20 simple black and white pictures traditionally gender-typed for males (for example, a football) and for females (for example, a doll), arranged in alternate positions.
• stopwatch

### Experiment

Each subject will be given 15 seconds to study the grid pictures. When the grid is taken away, the subject will be asked to list the names of the objects he or she can recall. It is believed that children will recall objects traditionally associated with their own gender.

### Procedure

1. Test a child from each grade group individually in a quiet room that is free of distractions. Read the following directions to the participants: "I will show you some pictures for 15 seconds. When the time is up, I will take the pictures away and ask you to list the names of as many pictures as you can remember."
2. Tabulate the results using two dif ferent methods of analysis.
3. First Analysis: Group your data according to whether each subject remembers a majority or a minority of the items traditionally associated with his or her gender or simply an equal number of both male-and female-gender-typed pictures.

Second Analysis: Examine whether there is a tendency for each age group, as well as the group as a whole, to be influenced by the gender-typing of the pictures presented. Record the total number and percentage of the male-gender-typed pictures recalled by the subjects as a group, and do the same with the female-gender-typed pictures. Do this for each grade level.

### Results

1. Did the boys, as a whole group, recall a majority or a minority of male-gender-typed pictures? Or, did they recall an equal number of male- and female-gender-typed pictures?
2. Did the girls, as a whole group, recall a majority or a minority of female-gender-typed pictures? Or, did they recall an equal number of male- and femalegender-typed pictures?
3. When grouped by grade, did the boys recall male-gender-typed pictures at a greater frequency than female-gender-typed pictures?
4. When grouped by grade, did the girls recall female-gender-typed pictures at a greater frequency than male-gender-typed pictures?
5. Do the results change for each grade level? If so, what variables may have influenced the results of the varying grade levels? What are the implications of these results?
6. What do your results tell you about the group as a whole?