The Real Reason Women Have Better Memories

Looks like another bit of traditional wisdom has been proven to be true by cold hard science. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Menopause, women aged 45-55 outperformed men in every memory-related task they were given, lending serious credence to the age-old idea that women have better memories than men. The researchers also found that memory does decline in women as they enter menopause, showing how there may be a hormonal mechanism behind women's more accurate memory (per Science Daily).

Earlier research has shown that women are better at remembering events from the past than men. This is known as episodic memory, which includes everything from people a person has met, to where a person put their keys (via News-Medical). While memory problems can be attributed to many different things, there now seems to be a solid scientific consensus that women generally have a greater capacity to recall things from the past than men do, and it appears that there are hardwired reasons behind this.

Why do women have better memories than men?

While there are actually ways to improve your memory through exercise and diet, the differences in memory between men and women seem to come down to the presence of estrogen. The study published in Menopause found that women's superior memory skills were pronounced in midlife, but become much less so after menopause, a period in which estrogen levels tend to drop for most women (via Iowa Clinic).

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), estrogen may be involved in protecting against many different cognitive problems, including Alzheimer's disease, and may play a key role in maintaining a sharp memory. This may be due to acetylcholine, a brain chemical that is "critical" to memory. Estrogen enhances the production of an enzyme that your body needs to synthesize this chemical. This may be the secret behind the more accurate memory of women, especially in their pre-menopausal years.