A new research from McMaster University suggests women can remember faces much better
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than men, in part because they spend more time studying features without even knowing it, and a technique researchers say can help improve anyone’s memories.
Canadians researchers used a special eye-tracking technology to monitor where study participants looked, when they were shown a series of different faces on the screen of the computer. Each face was given a name that the researchers asked participants to remember.
A group of participants took the test in one day, while another group was given about 4 days to complete the test. Women in the one-day experiment had a much better memory of the faces they had seen compared with men, the researchers said. The ladies’ advantage was subtler over the four-day experiment.
Eye-tracking technology used during the tests could explain the sex difference. The women in the study focused on the facial features far more than men in the images presented to them, the researchers found.
“We found that women fixated on the features far more than men, but this strategy operates completely outside of our awareness. Individuals don’t usually notice where their eyes fixate, so it’s all subconscious,” said Jennifer Heisz, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University,
The results open the possibility that changing our eye movement pattern may lead to better memory. It means anyone can be taught to scan more and potentially have better memory.
“The results open the possibility that changing our eye movement pattern may lead to better memory. Increased scanning may prove to be a simple strategy to improve face memory in the general population, especially for individuals with memory impairment like older adults,” Heisz concluded.
What do you think about this research? Have ever noticed that a lot of men find it tricky to remember faces?
P.S. By the way, do you know what word “Prosopagnosia” means? Prosopagnosia or “face blindness” is a condition where the affected person can’t recognize faces. The condition affects about 2 percent of the world’s population!