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Why Women's Becomes More Creative During Certain Phases of Menstrual Cycles

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Ovulation — the period where a mature egg is released from the ovary — impacts individual demeanor in several ways. One study suggests people’s breasts may feel more tender; some research indicates people are more open to sexual adventures during the time; a few other deep-dives note that people develop a more competitive attitude for a few days, and may also experience an alteration in their clothing and food preferences.

A new study adds to this body of research, suggesting that ovulation might boost people’s creativity too.

Published in Frontiers In Psychology, the study found that women had their most novel, creative ideas while they were ovulating. The 72 participants — between the ages of 18 and 35 — involved in the study, were neither pregnant nor breastfeeding; they weren’t on any hormonal contraceptive either. While the dataset, in this case, is rather limited, the research points to a largely unexplored link between our reproductive system and our creative cognition.

First, the researchers determined the menstrual cycle phases of the participants using saliva-and-urine-based test kits. Then, they assessed their creativity through different tests during each of the phases, and had their ideas rated by trained, independent professionals. The results suggested that the ideas generated by the participants during their ovulatory phase were the most original and creative.

The researchers believe the link between ovulation and creativity may lie in our evolutionary underpinnings. “[Creativity] could be linked to reproduction, helping to attract mates… As we can see, love can be really inspiring for artists,” noted Katarzyna Galasinska from the institute of psychology at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland, who co-authored the present study. “[I]t is hard to prove that creativity evolved through sexual selection, as a sort of signal attracting mates’ attention. 

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