Women’s work: Remembering communal goals.

Building on evidence that people coordinate mnemonic work, the current paper evaluates whether women exert greater mental effort than men to remember outstanding goals for which other people are beneficiaries. We demonstrate support for the notion that men and women expend unequal effort to encode and track communal goals: outstanding goals that benefit others. Studies 1a—1e demonstrate that women are assumed to be more communal in their remembering than men. Studies 2 and 3 explore the merit of this common assumption. Focusing on the coordination of mnemonic work among romantic couples, Study 2 demonstrates that women are far more likely than men to encode outstanding goals for which their partner is a beneficiary. Study 3 replicates the communal memory effect experimentally with ad hoc dyads and rules out the possibility that the effect is rooted in a gender difference in mnemonic ability. The heightened expectation for women to be communal may manifest not simply as an increase in physical communal labor (e.g., household labor) but as an increase in mental communal labor as well. Implications of these results for home and workplace performance are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)