Gender Differences in Auditory and Visual Spatial Memory

Matthew Copple, The College of Wooster


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether the female advantage in spatial memory, which previously has only been tested on visual tasks, is present in an auditory task. Participants listened to two rounds of five different stimuli, each coming from a different but internally consistent angle. After completing an object memory distractor task, they were presented with the stimuli again, this time from headphones, and asked to identify which angle they were facing in the first task. The hypothesis was that females would better remember these angles, because of their advantage in spatial memory that has been attributed to the Hunter-Gatherer Hypothesis, which posits that female gatherers had to have a heightened spatial memory ability, to remember where edible plants were.