Gender and Educational Stream Differences in Memory Retention for Verbal and Non-verbal Tasks

By Norehan Zulkiply, Shahren Ahmad Zaidi Adruce, Kartini Abd Ghani and Po Ling Chen.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Memory retention for verbal and non-verbal tasks across genders and streams of education were examined among undergraduate students in a Malaysian university. There were one-hundred-and-sixty participants, with a balanced ratio between male and female students, as well as hard science and social science students who were recruited using stratified random sampling. In this experiment, participants were asked to perform a series of memory tests (four verbal memory tests and four non-verbal memory tests), which approximately took 40 minutes. Participants’ performance in the memory tests were recorded by the experimenter throughout the tests. The results support many of the findings in previous research: that female participants outperformed males in verbal memory tests, and by contrast, male participants performed better in non-verbal tests which include Memory for Location and Abstract Visual Memory, the two spatial tests most widely identified as a male’s strength in many previous literatures. Interestingly, test results examining the education streams reveal new findings where the hard science students significantly outperformed the social science students in the three non-verbal tests mastered by the male students. On the other hand, results on the verbal memory tests (Memory for Stories) show only slight difference in the findings between the hard science students’ and social science students’ performances. The rest of the verbal memory tests do not show any concrete evidence on which groups (hard science or social science) have actually performed better. In addition to the findings detailed above, the interaction between genders and streams of education was found to have a significant bearing in three non-verbal memory tests: Abstract Visual Memory, Visual Sequential Memory and Memory for Location. This suggests that female and male students have responded differently to these memory tests based on their education streams.

Keywords: Verbal Memory, Non Verbal Memory, Memory Retention, Spatial Memory

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp.221-226. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 566.612KB).

Norehan Zulkiply

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She has an MSc in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Sussex, UK and a BSc in Cognitive Science from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Her research interests include cognition and learning, memory, metacognition and cognitive development.

Dr. Shahren Ahmad Zaidi Adruce

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

He is a lecturer and the dean of the Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Doctoral degree in Information Transfer and a Certificate in University Teaching.

Kartini Abd Ghani

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

She is a lecturer at the Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She obtained her MSc in Artificial Intelligence from University of Georgia, US and a BA Psychology from University of Nottingham, UK. She has experiences teaching courses that include Introduction to Cognitive Science, Cognitive Psychology, Cognition and Organizational Behavior, and Psychology of Human Development. Her research interest is in the area of Cognition and Memory.

Po Ling Chen

University Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia

She is a tutor at the Faculty of Cognitive Science and Human Development, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She has a BSc in Cognitive Science from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and is currently pursuing her master degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at University of York, UK. She is working on her master project entitled “Cross-species auditory perceptions in humans”. The project investigates the brain responses that occur when human perceive valence non-speech vocalizations of human and non-human species (chimpanzees and monkeys).

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