Washington D.C. [USA]:Busting a popular stereotype, a study recently found that periods have no impact on a woman’s working memory, decision-making or ability to pay attention to two things at once.
The findings revealed that the levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone in your system have no impact on your working memory, cognitive bias or ability to pay attention to two things at once.
While it has often been assumed that anyone who’s menstruating isn’t working at top mental pitch, the researchers found evidence to suggest that that’s not the case.
While some hormones were associated with changes across one cycle in some of the women taking part, these effects did not repeat in the following cycle.
Overall, none of the hormones the team studied had any replicable, consistent effect on study participants’ cognition.
Lead researcher Brigitte Leeners said, “As a specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance.”
The team, working from the Medical School Hannover and University Hospital Zürich, recruited 68 women to undergo detailed monitoring to investigate changes in three selected cognitive processes at different stages in the menstrual cycle.
The results from the first cycle suggested that cognitive bias and attention were affected and these results were not replicated in the second cycle.
The team looked for differences in performance between individuals and changes in individuals’ performance over time, and found none.
Leeners added, “The hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance. Although there might be individual exceptions, women’s cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle.”
The research is published in journal of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.