Developmental sex differences in verbal learning

Joel H. Kramer, Edith Kaplan, Dean C. Delis, Louise O'Donnell, Aurelio Prifitera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Although sex differences in verbal learning and memory have been reported in adults, much less is known about when these sex differences emerge and how they develop. In this study, 401 boys and 410 girls between the ages of 5 and 16 years were administered the California Verbal Learning Test-Children's Version. Sex differences were found at all age levels. Girls performed better than boys on all of the immediate and delayed recall trials and on the delayed recognition trial. Girls were also more likely than boys to use a semantic clustering strategy and displayed more effective long-term memory mechanisms. Boys made more intrusion errors and displayed greater vulnerability to interference between the 2 test lists. Because boys had higher mean scores on Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised Vocabulary, the observed female superiority in verbal learning could not be attributed to sex differences in overall word knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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