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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

The sociosexual function of women's episodic memory

Smith, David S. January 2014 (has links)
From an adaptive perspective human memory ought to be strategically attuned towards information deemed to be of value according to nature's criterion; i.e. that which promotes individual survival and reproduction. The experiments in this thesis represent an interdisciplinary venture to merge cognitive psychology with social perception research in order to study how sociosexual pressures may have shaped women's episodic memory systems. A vast literature has validated sexual dimorphism as a cue by which women comparatively judge the value of potential mates in terms of their perceived biological and behavioural characteristics (e.g. heightened sexual dimorphism in men correlates with positive biological attributes but also negative behavioural traits). The first 5 experiments extend this work by focusing on the functional contribution women's episodic memory systems may play in constraining generalisations. Experiments 1 and 2 reveal a mnemonic bias in women's memory for contents of encounters with men who have (attractive) masculinised low vs. (less attractive) feminised high pitch. Experiment 3 finds a similar memory benefit for information associated either with masculinised or feminised men's faces, depending on whether women prefer masculinised or feminised characteristics in men. Data from Experiments 6 and 7 reveal further evidence of sociosexual adaptation in women's episodic memory. Memory appears to be biased towards remembering the location of women with feminised (highly attractive) facial features, i.e. high-value competitors for potential mates. While no sociosexual bias was found in women's location memory for attractive male faces, a sociosexual bias was present in women's location memory for men with attractive, low-pitch voices. Considered along with other recent adaptive memory research, the data in this thesis further erode the idea of episodic memory as a general purpose mechanism.

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