ERIC Number: ED208378
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Sex Differences in Recall as a Function of "Generic" vs. Female-Inclusive Contexts.
Crawford, Mary; English, Linda
Many linguists have maintained that the pronouns "he,""his," and "him" and the noun "man," when used in the generic sense, legitimately refer to both males and females and effectively cue readers to think of both. Others have argued, however, that the generic terms cause readers to "filter out" or dismiss females from consideration. If generic terms do function to exclude females from consideration, they might also influence memory for facts--that is, subjects who have a greater interest in the material they read are likely to recall more information than those who are less interested. A study was designed to examine the effects of generic versus female-inclusive written language on memory for factual material in male and female subjects. Twenty-eight male and 50 female college students read one of two versions of a 400-word essay, one using generic terms and the other using female inclusive terms ("he or she,""men and women," and "they"). Two days later, they completed a recall and recognition task. The results indicated that the female subjects displayed better recall of facts from their reading when the referent pronouns were female inclusive, while males showed better recall with generic masculine pronouns. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Referents (Linguistics)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (52nd, New York, NY, April 22-25, 1981).