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The Korean Journal of Woman Psychology

Sex Differences in Verbal and Spatial Memory in Korean people: A Meta-analysis


Studies involving Westerners as subjects have indicated that women are superior to men in verbal memory capacity, whereas men are superior to women in spatial memory capacity. Given that sex differences in cognitive abilities are sensitive to various sociocultural variables, Korean men and women may or may not show similar sex differences. While some domestic studies have addressed sex differences in memory capacity using Koreans as subjects, it is unknown to what extent sex differences found in these studies are collectively similar to those found in Western studies. To clarify this issue, the present study performed a meta-analysis of 12 domestic studies that have reported relevant data. These studies collectively involved 1876 men and 2936 women. Major results were as follows. First, the meta-analysis provided clear evidence that Korean women are superior to Korean men in verbal memory capacity. Second, the meta-analysis provided partial evidence that Korean men are superior to Korean women in spatial memory capacity. Korean men were superior to Korean women in spatial memory tasks that involved relatively short, but not long, learning time. Lastly, in studies involving adult or elderly samples, men had significantly greater years of education than women. This factor tended to reduce women’s advantage for verbal memory performance and increase mens’ advantage for spatial memory performance. Given that both Western and Korean data indicate female superiority in verbal memory capacity and male superiority in spatial memory capacity, such sex differences are relatively cross-cultural. The causes of these sex differences may include gender differences in hemispheric development and those in social learning, and interactions between the two factors.

memory function, sex difference, meta-analysis, verbal memory, spatial memory, 기억기능, 성차, 메타분석, 언어기억, 공간기억



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The Korean Journal of Woman Psychology