Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Sex differences in social memory among preschool children

  • 50 Accesses

  • 6 Citations


Preschool children, 17 boys and 18 girls, attending a day-care center, were presented with photographs of all 37 children in the center and required to supply the name of each pictured child. Girls made significantly fewer errors in identification than boys (p<.05), although boys spent more time in the day-care program (p<.025). Girls were, on the average, 4 months older than boys (p<.01), but age was not significantly correlated with number of identification errors. No sex differences were obtained on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, memory, or perceptual-performance scales of the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. Results were consistent with previous findings for college students and were interpreted in terms of differential child-rearing practices and observational learning.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Garai, J. E., & Scheinfeld, A. Sex differences in mental and behavioral traits. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 1968, 77, 169–299.

  2. Leifer, A. D., Collins, W. A., Gross, B. M., Taylor, P. H., Andrews, L., & Blackmer, E. R. Developmental aspects of variables relevant to observational learning. Child Development, 1971, 42, 1509–1516.

  3. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1974.

  4. Messick, S., & Damarin, F. Cognitive styles and memory for faces. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1964, 69, 313–318.

  5. Mischel, W. Sex typing and socialization. In P. H. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael's manual of child psychology (Vol. 2). New York: Wiley, 1970.

  6. Rheingold, H. L., & Cook, K. V. The contents of boys' and girls' rooms as an index of parents' behavior. Child Development, 1975, 46, 459–463.

  7. Witryol, S. L., & Kaess, W. A. Sex differences in social memory tasks. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1957, 54, 343–346.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Jerome H. Feldstein.

Additional information

This research was supported by Grant 216-15-36 from the Cooperative State Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, to the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Feldstein, J.H. Sex differences in social memory among preschool children. Sex Roles 2, 75–79 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289300

Download citation


  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Preschool Child
  • Identification Error
  • Observational Learning