THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE, ATTITUDE AND SPATIAL TEST PERFORMANCE
MAYER, CYNTHIA RAY
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This study investigated menstrual phase differences in spatial test performance as a function of attitude toward menstruation and menstrual-related symptoms.;Subjects were 38 professional women, ages 23-40. Each subject took two tests of spatial orientation and three visualization tests during her menstrual flow. Half the subjects were tested on equivalent forms of the tests during the luteal phase, and half during the follicular phase. Phases were determined by retrospective analysis of BBT records. Subjects filled out the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire, the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire and the Feminine Interest Questionnaire.;A series of analyses of covariance were performed holding constant several variables shown to be significant in affecting performance on the spatial tests. These were: order of testing, day of flow during which menstrual testing occurred, and age of the subject. With these contributions assessed, cycle phase was found to have no effect on spatial performance.;No consistent relationship was obtained between menstrual-related attitude and performance during menstruation. Neither reported symptomatology accompanying menstruation nor female role orientation correlated with phase differences in performance.;The professional sample differed from the general population of women in their superior ability to predict the onset of their menses and a higher reported incidence of premenstrual symptoms.;Obtained results corroborate the findings reported in the literature that there are no decrements in intellectual function associated with menstruation. Many subjects reported a decreased ability to concentrate during menstruation, but there were no significant differences in performance related to cycle phase. Future studies of specific samples of women reporting a cognitive deficit associated with menstruation are suggested. Results are also seen to disconfirm the notion that sex differences in spatial ability are due to hormonal variation associated with the menstrual cycle.
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