CREATIVITY AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
CHRISLER, JOAN C.
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This study investigated changes in creative performance across the menstrual cycle. Twenty normally menstruating women in their thirties took both the verbal and figural forms of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Torrance, 1962) during the premenstrual phase and again after the cessation of the menses. A control group of eleven men of the same ages was tested at the full moon and new moon phases of the lunar cycle. Subjects also filled out the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (Brooks-Gunn and Ruble, 1980) and the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (Bem, 1974). Female subjects completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (Moos, 1968) and answered questions regarding their beliefs about intellectual and creative changes across the menstrual cycle. No sex differences or menstrual phase differences were found. The males were found to be significantly more flexible (F < .05) and significantly less elaborate (F < .05) on the figural creativity testing during the full moon. Thirty three percent of the females believed that their performance was impaired premenstrually, however results indicate that their performance was significantly better (t < .05) on the figural fluency measure at the premenstrual testing. Androgynous subjects were significantly more creative (F < .05) than feminine subjects on all verbal creativity measures; no other sex-role differences reached significance. Results also indicate a pattern of premenstrual symptoms in these women that is unrelated to attitudes toward menstruation. Once again, experimental evidence indicates that there are no significant cognitive deficits premenstrually. Any sex differences in creative achievement are more likely to be the result of lack of opportunity and lack of recognition of women's work.