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Memory and menstrual cycle

Hartley, L.R., Lyons, D. and Dunne, M. (1987) Memory and menstrual cycle. Ergonomics, 30 (1). pp. 111-20.

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Thirty women with regular menstrual cycles were tested on immediate and delayed verbal retention, immediate memory for acoustically and semantically confusing word lists, and verbal reasoning. The Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) was also administered. Testing was carried out at three phases of the menstrual cycle: ovulation, menstruation and the premenstrual phase. Immediate and delayed recall showed no differences across the three phases. Speed of verbal reasoning was found to be slower on more complex sentences during ovulation. Recall of semantically similar lists was impaired in ovulation, while recall of acoustically similar lists tended to be impaired in paramenstrum. There was a significant interaction between phases and list types. On the MDQ self-reported arousal was higher in ovulation, whereas distress was higher in the premenstrual phase, although this appears to be unrelated to the performance changes. The practical implication of these performance changes for the verbal processing of material are discussed and the need for further research into the cognitive mechanisms proposed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
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