This study examines whether auditory narrator gender (male or female) and presence of a visual image of a woman described in the narrated description (visual image or no visual image) affects the number of extrinsic (appearance related) words recalled. Seventy-one female subjects from the western Massachusetts area, varying in age & ethnicity, participated in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: male-visual, male-no visual, female-visual, female-no visual. Number of extrinsic words recalled and percent of extrinsic words recalled was recorded. There was a marginal difference in percentage of extrinsic words recalled in female vs. male narrator. There was no difference in number of extrinsic words recalled in male-visual, male-no visual, female-visual, female-no visual.

Introduction

1) When subjects hear a man reading a paragraph about a woman, they will recall more extrinsic words than subjects who hear a woman’s voice reading the description of a woman.
  1. Subjects exposed to the presence of a visual image accompanying the paragraph will recall more extrinsic words than subjects not exposed to the visual image.
3) We expect that subjects who listen to a male voice and view a picture will recall more extrinsic words than any other group.
  1. In addition, subjects who listen to a female voice and do not view a picture will recall less extrinsic words than any other condition.
Method

Subjects

Materials Procedure
 
 

Results

~ An independent groups 2 - way ANOVA tested for differences in the number and percentage of extrinsic words recalled

~ Participants in the male voice conditions did not recall significantly more or less extrinsic words than participants in the female voice conditions

~ Participants in the visual image conditions did not recall significantly more or less extrinsic words than participants in the no visual image conditions

~ Participants in the male-visual, male-no visual, female-visual, and female-no visual did not differ significantly in the number of extrinsic words recalled

~ Percentages of total extrinsic words recalled among the participants was marginally significant between the male and female conditions

Discussion

Our hypotheses were not adequately supported. The number of extrinsic words recalled was not greater for subjects who heard a male narrator, versus a female narrator. Additionally, the number of extrinsic words recalled was not greater for subjects who received a visual stimulus, versus subjects who did not receive a visual stimulus. However, when percentage of extrinsic words recalled was analyzed between male and female voice conditions, there was marginal significance, where subjects in the male voice condition recalled a greater percentage of extrinsic words than subjects in the female voice condition. This marginal significance is not enough to definitively conclude that there is a relationship between gender of narrator and recall of extrinsic words.

Our results contradict previous research, such as Gibbons (1986) who found that the combination of audio and visual input produced higher results on memory of plot sequences in children than those who listened only to audio input. However the population included in Gibbons’ research consisted of children, while this current study encompassed a population consisting mainly of educated, female adults. The differences in cognitive development in these two populations may be reason for these contradicting results. Since the current study included a very specific population of women, additional research would be needed to investigate an effect in other populations, such as a general population of women in which one might include a more random sample with more participants. The fact that this study was conducted at a high profile women’s college may have influenced the results. Results in support of the hypothesis might be expected if the participants of this study were expanded to include a more general population of women.

Because there is no research exclusively on auditory input and recall of extrinsic memory, this research offers a preliminary design for a study which tests auditory effects with memory bias for extrinsic words. Modification to this study to increase chance for significance, and therefore more practical applications would include designing alternative narrations, providing a different visual which more adequately fits the description, and testing different populations with more subjects. Altering this research could benefit industries which utilize media as a form of advertising in determining the most effect method of promotion to a specific audience, specifically audio advertising. The results of the current study suggest that the gender of speaker does not affect a listener’s tendency to focus on extrinsic qualities. Even when audio input is accompanied by visual input, the listener’s focus on extrinsic qualities is not affected.