Positive and negative effects of gender expertise on episodic memory

Ainat Pansky, Yaniv Oren, Hadas Yaniv, Ortal Landa, Adi Gotlieb, Eitan Hemed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two experiments, we examined the role of differential levels of knowledge between the genders in different domains, which we term gender expertise, in accounting for differences in episodic memory performance. In Experiment 1, we validated the assumption of differential gender expertise among men and women and selected the categories for the subsequent experiments. In Experiment 2, participants from both genders studied exemplars from these female-oriented, male-oriented, and gender-neutral categories and were tested after 24 hours on studied items, critical lures, and unrelated lures. A gender-congruity effect was found in terms of the recognition rates of both studied items and critical lures: Participants from each gender recognized more studied items and more critical lures from gender-congruent categories than from gender-incongruent categories. A parallel pattern of results was found for subjective confidence, supporting the notion that gender congruity enhanced the phenomenological experience that an item was studied. Our findings highlight the unique role of gender expertise in accounting for gender-congruity effects in episodic memory performance, using a well-defined operationalization of gender expertise. These findings show that in addition to benefits in terms of enhancing true memory, gender expertise also has a “dark side” of increasing false memories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Psychonomic Society, Inc.


  • Confidence
  • Expertise
  • False memory
  • Gender differences
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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