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Women on their periods show superior attention to detail and make fewer mistakes, study finds

A recent study has broken the delusion that women perform less efficiently while on their period and has revealed impressively contrasting results.

Women on their periods show superior attention to detail and make fewer mistakes, study finds
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Anna Shvets

Women often experience mood swings, severe cramps, and fatigue during menstruation, making it challenging for many to perform their tasks. Surprisingly, there are also some hidden benefits that are quite significant. Recent studies, reported in the journal Neuropsychologia, reveal that women on their period may perform better than on other days, with improved reaction times and fewer mistakes. To understand this better, researchers conducted cognitive tests on a sample population to assess attention span.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cottonbro Studio

The study, as reported by The Guardian, included both males and females for comparison. Among the females, researchers considered different groups: those with regular menstruation, irregular menstruation, and pregnant women. They used period-tracking apps to determine which of the four menstrual phases the women were in and asked participants to log their moods and other details for better analysis. The results showed that menstruating women paid better attention to detail than when they were not menstruating.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cliff Booth
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Cliff Booth

A surprising discovery revealed that despite experiencing mood swings, menstruating women made fewer errors and responded quicker than other participants. Dr. Flamina Ronca, lead author of the study, highlighted these striking results, saying, “What is surprising is that the participants’ performance was better when they were on their period, which challenges what women and perhaps society more generally, assume about their abilities at this particular time of the month.”

Dr. Paul Burgess, a senior lead in the study, shared that the idea for the experiment came from testing soccer players' abilities during menstruation. He said, “As suggested by what the soccer players had told us, the data suggested that women who menstruate – whether they are athletes or not – do tend to vary in their performance at certain stages of the cycle. As a neuroscientist, I am amazed that we don’t already know more about this and hope that our study will help motivate increasing interest in this vital aspect of sports medicine.”

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Sam Lion
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Sam Lion

The study concluded that women are likely to perform better in cognitive tasks during menstruation and worse during the luteal phase. “The convergence of faster reaction times, reduced variability and fewer errors within the same phase provides a strong indication that a cognitive advantage may indeed be present during menstruation,” the study said. Additionally, it revealed that the “incongruence” between women’s performances due to their menstrual cycles will hopefully build a “positive outlook” and offer a sporting behavior on the same.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Mart Production
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mart Production

The hope from these tests is that women will not be underestimated due to their menstrual cycles. Additionally, doctors and researchers emphasize the need for further exploration and study. Their aim is to raise awareness about women’s potential. Understanding and adjusting tasks according to menstrual phases, especially during menstruation, could increase opportunities for women.

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