University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Michelle Leichtman, UNH Department of Psychology
Examining Episodic Memory Use on Science Exam Questions: A Think-Aloud Study
Little research has examined the use of episodic memory in a classroom context and the gender differences that may accompany its use. Small, qualitative studies have suggested that episodic memory plays an important role in the problem-solving process students use to answer exam questions (Nuthall & Alton-Lee, 2005). Other research has revealed that males surpass females in performance and interest in science-related material, and that females show a greater propensity to recall and utilize episodic memories than do males (Royer & Garofoli, 2007; Pillemer, Wink, DiDonato, & Sandborn, 2003). Our study examines the interaction of episodic memory, gender, and science material at three education levels: middle school, high school, and university. Using the think-aloud method, we have examined how often and when episodic memory is utilized by both sexes during problem-solving, with a specific focus on science-related material. We predict that, in accordance with previous work in other contexts, females will show a greater propensity to utilize episodic memory while answering science exam questions.