This study examined the effects someone’s gender might play on their memory and verbal fluency. The participants were aged 18 – 25 years and were randomly selected. There were 20 participants that took part in the study overall. The participants were given one main task to write as many words they could think of relating to the 3 different topics; words that start with S, words that start with E and words that start with M. Our hypothesis was that females will outperform males on the phonemic verbal fluency task. The findings show that Gender played a minor role in a person’s verbal fluency and suggests that women maybe more fluent then men. However, due to the size of the sample and the simplicity of the task, our findings might not be a good representation of genders effect on verbal fluency.
Genes VS Memory: The Effect of Gender on Verbal Fluency
There are many reasons why someone’s verbal fluency might be affected. Some of these reasons are environmental and might be things like how much sleep someone has had the night before, if there is a lot of noise around the person whilst they are trying to talk and whether there is a lot of distractions. This sort of factors can be controlled to a certain extent but what about internal factors such as someone gender, age, ethnicity and upbringing/education. Does someone’s gender effect how verbally fluent that person is?
Insert Research that backs this idea
Participants included 15 people aged between 18 – 25 (7 females, 8 males).
Participants were chosen at random and were assigned a number to be identified as for this study. Potential participants were excluded if they weren’t fluent in English, English wasn’t their first or second language. those who were struggling with any learning disability as this could potentially affect their scores and change the out come of the study overall.
The participants verbal fluency was measured by asking participants to write as many words they can that started with a certain letter (in our case S, E and M). They were given 3 sheets of paper with the letter each word had to start with at the top of the page and were told they had 60 seconds, which was timed using an alarm, to write as many words as they could on this paper. Each participant’s score for the different categories was calculated by counting each word they had written on their page that could be found in the English dictionary. These results were then used to calculate the relevant data needed to see if gender really does affect our verbal fluency.
The experimental design was independent measures. This design was chosen as we were using two different groups (males and females) and giving them both the same test. We were focusing on how the independent variable, gender, might affect the dependant variable, how many correct English words they write for each category.
Participants were chosen at random and were asked to provide an email address or phone number they were happy to be contacted on. Based on the information given they were later contacted and told the exact date, time and address to arrive at for the study. Upon arrival, participants were given a consent form which needed to be filled out before the study took place, information sheet explain what was going to happen and a letter thanking them for participating and giving them contact details in case they had any questions.
Once participants had signed the correct sheets and agreed to take part, they were then taken into a room one at a time and then told about the tasks they would have to complete. The table had three pieces of paper on the table each titled with on of the following titles: words starting with S, words starting with E or words starting with M. Once the task had been explained they were asked if they and any further questions about the task ahead. If they had no further questions, they were asked if they were ready to begin the task. If not, they were given 5 minutes before the task would then commence. If all questions had been answered and participants were ready, the test would start. The researcher remained in the room and timed each task. When 60 seconds was reached the participant was asked to finish the word they were writing and stop. This process was repeat two other times with different letters for each participant. Once the participant had completed all tests, they were taken to a sperate room from the others and debriefed. This was repeated with all participants.
Based on the data we collected we found that women performed better at the verbal task the men did overall. Figure 1 shows the different results women got for each result. Figure 2 shows the different results men got for each test and Figure 3 is the overall average for men and women. From figure 1, we can see that the results from each test were fairly similar. Participant F4’s result for words that start with M was slightly high then the other results and was excluded from the average and standard deviation calculation. The women’s overall scores were fairly high, ranging between 11 – 28 words per minute. Figure 2 shows that men’s results were quite similar. Participant M8’s result for words that start with S and E was higher then the other results and like F4, were excluded from the average and standard deviation calculation. The men’s overall scores were slightly lower than the women’s, ranging between 11-24 words per minute. Based on just these results alone, there is a possibility that gender has an affect on a person’s verbal fluency. However, this doesn’t clearly show if there is a difference between male and female verbal fluency. Figure 3 shows the average score of males and the average score of females. From this graph, it is clear that women performed better in the tests overall with an average of 18.7 in comparison 15.2 which was the average for men. This suggests that