Department of Teaching English, Tehran Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Damavand, Iran (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Science & Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, IAU, Tehran, Iran (email@example.com)
The literature on memory studies shows that gender differences in episodic memory favor women on verbal episodic memory tasks. In contrast, men have been found to have a unique advantage only on episodic memory tasks requiring visuospatial processing. Some studies are also indicative of gender differences favoring women on face recognition and episodic-memory tasks requiring a simultaneous visuospatial and verbal processing (Herlitz & Rehnman, 2008; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974). Given these points, this study was an attempt to compare semantically-oriented and episodically-oriented memory of female and male English learners in terms of learning vocabularies taught to them based on example sentences and definitions. In order to carry out this study, 50 female and male English learners of the intermediate level at Gam-e-Bartar Institute in Iran were selected through an oral placement test and were tested by an episodic memory test (Free Memory Recall Test) and two semantic memory tests (Fluency and Categorical Fluency Test). The participants were taught 37 new English vocabularies by two different strategies, example sentences and definition and were tested upon the newly learnt vocabularies. The data analysis through MANOVA showed a significant difference between women and men in terms of the activation of the episodic memory. Specifically, the results favored women on episodic memory tasks and in recalling positive episodes of their life. Moreover, no significant interaction was found between males and females in terms of their episodically/semantically-learned vocabulary scores indicating that there could be no relation among memory types, gender types, and vocabulary learning.
Keywords: semantic memory; episodic memory; gender; vocabulary recall; second language learning