Are Men More Forgetful Than Women?

in Article, News
February 3rd, 2014


If you have ever noticed that men tend to forget things quite often, especially compared to women, you are not alone.  A research team led by Professor Jostein Holmen in Norway conducted a large, longitudinal population health study called Hunt3 to reach the conclusion that men are more forgetful than women, regardless of their age.  This is one of the largest health studies ever performed, with answers from over 48,000 people leading to their conclusions.

The participants were asked at the beginning of the study if they had problems remembering things, if they had problems remembering dates and names, if they had a memory of what they did one year ago, and if they could remember details about specific conversations.

In the study, about half of the participants reported memory problems; 1.2% of them were women and 1.6% of them were men.  For eight out of the nine questions in the study, men reported to have the most problems.  The researchers also found that as a whole, the memory problems increased with age, but in every single age group, men had more memory problems than women.  The research also concluded that younger men forget just as much as older men.  Professor Holmen said, “It was surprising to see that men forget more than women.  This has not been documented before.  It was also surprising to see that men are just as forgetful whether they are 30 or 60 years old.”

This study found it true that women have the same problems with their memory as men do, but to a lesser extent.  For women, it was hardest to remember names and dates.  Researchers say that these problems worsen with age, but less so than they previously believed.  This study also concluded that people with higher levels of education forget less than those people with less education.  Additionally, both men and women with anxiety or depression forget more than those without.

According to this study, the reasons for the differences in memory based on gender could be linked to risk factors like heart disease, high blood pressure, or a high body mass index (BMI).  These risk factors that are more prevalent in men may cause some forms of neurodegeneration.  The researchers speculated this but did not conduct a study to find clear evidence for this difference.

Professor Holmen’s research groups say that they plan to conduct more studies on whether people who report having memory problems at a younger age have an increased risk of developing dementia.  Hopefully, researchers like Professor Holmen can continue these memory studies to lead to discoveries that will help cure and eventually end dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  While the difference in memory between men and women is very small, it is still significant in future findings.  Will the dementia and Alzheimer rates decrease more rapidly in men or in women?  We hope to know the answer soon.

Melissa Heller


Men are more forgetful than women, study shows – MNT

Men forget most – Eurekalert

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One Comment on Are Men More Forgetful Than Women?

  • Well written and informative article Melissa. I really thought that men used “selective” forgetfulness- especially when it come to their wives :-)

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