Emotional Experience and Recognition across Menstrual Cycle and in Premenstrual Disorder

  •  Julieta Ramos-Loyo    
  •  Araceli Sanz-Martin    


The aim of this study was to determine if differences exist in mood and in the recognition of female and male emotional faces among women in different phases of the menstrual cycle, and in women who suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) in the premenstrual phase. Both the emotional states and the recognition of female and male emotional faces were assessed in women in each phase of the menstrual cycle: post-menstrual, ovulatory, post-ovulatory and premenstrual. Also evaluated was a group of women who presented symptoms of PMDD during the premenstrual phase. Only the women with PMDD showed significant changes in levels of unpleasant emotions and anxiety. Regardless of group, the highest accuracy was observed for recognition of happiness and disgust, followed by surprise and sadness. The lowest level of recognition was seen for fear and anger. In addition, expressions of happiness and surprise were recognized better on female faces, while fearful and angry expressions were recognized better on male faces. Finally, women in the ovulatory phase and those with PMDD showed higher accuracy when recognizing sadness on male faces. These results suggest that only women with PMDD presented important differences in their emotional experience compared to the other groups. Finally, the gender of the emotion emitter was a factor that affected the recognition of emotions, an effect that was seen to interact slightly with the menstrual cycle phase.

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