Gender affects naming latencies for living and nonliving things: implications for familiarity
Recent studies indicate the presence of a gender-by-category interaction in the naming abilities of both Alzheimer's patients and normal subjects (Laiacona, Barbarotto and Capitani, 1998; McKenna and Parry, 1994). In particular, males appear to be better than females at naming nonliving things and females better at naming living things. Similarly, in a recent study of semantic fluency, males retrieved more names of tools than females and females more names of fruit than males (Capitani, Laiacona and Barbarotto, 1999). Such findings have important implications for our understanding of category-specific disorders. The current study examined the naming latencies of normal subjects to pictures of living and nonliving things. We confirm a gender-by category interaction across both subject and item, with females being slower than males to name nonliving things and males slower to name living things. This finding could not be explained by differential difficulty of items or differences in gender-based familiarity ratings.