August 2, 2002
In the category of "Scientific Research
That Proves The Obvious", an American university professor has
completed a study that shows women are better at recalling emotional
memories than men.
A dozen men and women were each shown a
series of photos designed to create an emotional response. This was
done while their heads were stuck inside a machine that showed how
their brains reacted. Not surprisingly, women's brains not only
reacted more strongly, but they were also able to remember their
emotional feelings more clearly later on.
Somewhat unfairly, one of the photos they
showed the men and women in the study was of a toilet that needed
cleaning. Women reacted with a strong emotional response, but it had
no effect on the men. You really can't blame them, since no man has
ever cleaned a toilet before.
More to the point, the results also support
the idea that women have a truer memory of domestic disputes than
Well - as Einstein said - duh. I hope they
didn't blow a bundle on the study. Ask any woman and she could tell
you the same thing. Ask any man - preferably during a commercial
break - and he'll admit that he's hopelessly outgunned in any
marital dispute. A woman has at her fingertips all the facts and
figures about important events in their domestic life together. They
are a veritable Rolodex of our failings, slights and bone-headed
Everything comes out when men and women
argue. Effortlessly, women can summon up dates, excuses we men have
tried, and every lame promise we've made. Not only can they remember
what we have argued about in the past, they can remember what we
were wearing at the time, for God's sake. On the other hand, while a
man may search his memory and recall a particular event as a large
party with free booze and their girlfriend in some kind of dress, we
may unfortunately forget the important detail that it was actually
the day we got married.
Men are better at other types of memory,
like which of our friends bought the last round, or Bret Hull's
rookie year stats. We also don't get worked up about the little
things like jobs, money or where we left the car. Maybe it helps to
think of us as turtles - slow, hard shell and asleep for half the
Take this small test yourself: what's the
name of your cousin's second wife? If you're a man, the answer is:
"I have a cousin?"
If you're a woman, the answer is: "Her
name is Alice, and you should know that because we went to the
wedding six years ago and you complained every minute of it, except
for when I caught you ogling that bleached blond bridesmaid. Her
favourite colour is blue, her birthday is May 10, and her childhood
pet's name was Mr. Winky."
And that's just what she can remember about
your cousin's wife. Imagine the goods she has stored up about you.
It would make the FBI's file on Bin Laden look like a Post-It Note.
But being able to remember all of this
emotional stuff comes with a price if you're a woman. The study also
suggested that a side effect of all this is that women tend to get
depressed more easily because they can remember and relive emotional
events more vividly.
Besides, if you had to live with a man,
wouldn't you be depressed?