Sex Differences in Episodic Memory Perfromance: The Role of Endogenous Testosterone

Master's Thesis


Considerable research indicates women tend to outperform men on tasks of episodic memory. Stress hormones, like cortisol, have been implicated in influencing the consolidation of emotional episodic memory. However, recent studies suggests cortisol may interact with testosterone to influence behavior and cognitive functions, like memory. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of testosterone, in addition to cortisol, to account for the sex differences in episodic memory performance. Participants (N=143; women=89; control=68) completed an encoding task in the afternoon, provided saliva samples prior to and after a stressor or matched control condition, and were tested for memory performance the following morning. Reactivity measures for cortisol and testosterone were utilized. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed no significant effect of testosterone, or an interaction with sex, on episodic memory performance. Additionally, endogenous testosterone did not correlate with any episodic memory measures. Though results of our study fail to account for sex differences in episodic memory performance, previous research suggest a need to consider cortisol-testosterone interactions to understand emotional episodic memory performance.


Attribute NameValues
Author Antonio Tlatenchi
Contributor Jessica D. Payne, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name Master of Arts
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Submission Date 2019-12-02
Record Visibility Public
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  • All rights reserved

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