Are women better at finding and remembering words than men? According to researchers, women are better. The advantage is consistent across time and life span, “but it is also relatively small”.
Marco Hirnstein, professor at The University of Bergen, Norway, and his colleagues conducted a so-called “meta-analysis”, where they analyzed the combined data of all PhD theses, master theses, and studies published in scientific journals they could find. This meta-analysis encompassed more than 500 measures from more than 350,000 participants. The researchers found that women are indeed better. The advantage is small but consistent across the last 50 years and an individual’s lifespan.
Moreover, they found that the female advantage depends on the sex/gender of the leading scientist: Female scientists report a larger female advantage, and male scientists report a smaller female advantage.
“So far, the focus has mostly been on abilities, in which men excel. However, in recent years the focus has shifted more towards women”, said Hirnstein in a paper published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
“Most intellectual skills show no or negligible differences in average performance between men and women. However, women excel in some tasks, while men excel in others on average,” the researchers noted.