Sex, but not Apolipoprotein E Polymorphism, Differences in Spatial Performance in Young Adults

Alia L. Yasen, Jacob Raber, Jeremy K. Miller, Brian J. Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine how sex and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype contribute to individual differences in spatial learning and memory. The associations of APOE genotype with neurocognitive function have been well studied among the elderly but less is known at earlier ages. Young adults (n = 169, 88 females) completed three neurocognitive tasks: mental rotation, spatial span, and Memory Island, a spatial navigation test. Males outperformed females on all three tasks: finding the hidden targets more quickly on Memory Island (Cohen’s d = 0.62) and obtaining higher scores on mental rotation (d = 0.54) and spatial span (d = 0.37). In contrast, no significant effects of APOE were observed. The identified sex differences elaborate upon past literature documenting sexually dimorphic performance on specific neurobehavioral tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2219-2226
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015



  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Sex differences
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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