Journal article Open Access

Gender Differences in Semantic Fluency Patterns in Children

Soriano, Federico; Fumagalli, Julieta; Shalom, Diego; Barreyro, Juan Pablo; Martínez-Cuitiño, Macarena

Abstract. Previous literature in cognitive psychology has provided data involving differences in language processing between men and women. It has been found that women are usually more proficient with certain semantic categories such as fruit, vegetables and furniture. Men are reported to be better at other categories semantic, e.g. tools and transport. The aim of this article is to provide an inquiry about possible differences in semantic category processing of living things (LT) and inanimate objects (IO) by Argentinian Spanish-speakers school-aged children. The group of 86 children between 8 and 12 years old (51.16 % boys) has been assessed on a semantic fluency task. Six semantic categories have been tested, three of them from the LT domain (animals, fruit/vegetables, and body parts) and three from the IO domain (transport, clothes and musical instruments). Results showed differences in semantic processing between boys and girls. Girls retrieved more items from the LT domain and activated more animals and fruit/vegetables. These findings appear to support an innate conceptual organization of the mind, which is presumably influenced by cultural factors and/or schooling. 

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