Fear recognition across the menstrual cycle

Rebecca Pearson, Michael B Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


This study assesses the mediating role of stage of menstrual cycle in the recognition of emotional expressions. It was hypothesised that fear recognition ability would be stronger at high-oestrogen stages of the menstrual cycle. The accuracy of recognising emotional expressions was compared across 50 women who were at different stages of their menstrual cycle. It was found that accuracy to recognise emotions was significantly affected by the interaction between stages of the menstrual cycle and the emotion being displayed. Further analysis revealed that for the emotion expression of fear alone, participants were significantly more accurate at the preovulatory surge (highest oestrogen levels) than at menstruation (oestrogen levels at lowest point). The results have implications for the processes that underlie fear processing and a possible insight into the sexual dimorphism of this ability and conditions that show variations in fear recognition (e.g., autism, Turner syndrome).

Translated title of the contributionFear Recognition Across the Menstrual Cycle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-71
Number of pages5
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Estrogens
  • Facial Expression
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Follicular Phase
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Menstruation
  • Ovulation
  • Recognition (Psychology)


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