Ovulating women are more economically rational than men.

By Seriously Science | February 3, 2016 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/Matthew Rutledge

Photo: flickr/Matthew Rutledge

A common (sexist) stereotype proposes that women behave irrationally in certain phases of their menstrual cycle (e.g., hysteria). And in fact, many studies have now shown that women do behave differently when they are ovulating—from wearing red to being more likely to vote for Obama. Here, the researchers tested a) whether women are overall more or less economically rational than men (measured by the consistency of their choices and by performance on simulated gambling tasks), and b) whether this rationality varies over the menstrual cycle. Refuting all stereotypes, the authors found that “despite large fluctuations in hormone levels, women are as technically rational in their choice behavior as their male counterparts at all phases of the menstrual cycle. However…during ovulation women are less loss averse than men and therefore more economically rational than men in this regard.” Perhaps this means Janet should be the first in a long line of female chairs of the Fed?

The Impact of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Economic Choice and Rationality

“It is well known that hormones affect both brain and behavior, but less is known about the extent to which hormones affect economic decision-making. Numerous studies demonstrate gender differences in attitudes to risk and loss in financial decision-making, often finding that women are more loss and risk averse than men. It is unclear what drives these effects and whether cyclically varying hormonal differences between men and women contribute to differences in economic preferences. We focus here on how economic rationality and preferences change as a function of menstrual cycle phase in women. We tested adherence to the Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference (GARP), the standard test of economic rationality. If choices satisfy GARP then there exists a well-behaved utility function that the subject’s decisions maximize. We also examined whether risk attitudes and loss aversion change as a function of cycle phase. We found that, despite large fluctuations in hormone levels, women are as technically rational in their choice behavior as their male counterparts at all phases of the menstrual cycle. However, women are more likely to choose risky options that can lead to potential losses while ovulating; during ovulation women are less loss averse than men and therefore more economically rational than men in this regard. These findings may have market-level implications: ovulating women more effectively maximize expected value than do other groups.”

Related content:
Ovulation makes single women more likely to vote for Barack Obama.
Study finds that women who are ovulating are more into kissing.
Women are more likely to wear red or pink at peak fertility.

  • Partlys4int

    Hmm, this raises questions as to what the most perfect time for divorce legal affairs would be. Preferably- if you’re a guy- I suppose you should schedule these meetings at times when your soon-to-be-ex-wife is not ovulating, or else you’ll get confronted by their economical rationality.

    • OWilson

      Sorta puts an age limit on female political candidates, too.

      Post menopause is obviously an advantage for Hillary.

      Wouldn’t want a chick to get a hormonal crush on macho Putin at a Summit, now would we? :)

      May, for the same reason we should limit women in the Military to senior citizens :)

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    1) “large fluctuations in hormone levels” Hormonal storms? HATER!
    2) To ascribe ability to sexuality is the basest of hate languages – unless it benefits anything but a White male. Social Justice!
    3) This microaggressive trigger event spew specifically excludes post-menopausal women. Carly Fiorinas of the world cannot be judged on their repetitious empirically demonstrated world class incompetencies. What difference does it make!
    4) The world according to GARP? “ACK! THBBFT!”
    5) Equality is not equity or 50%. Equality is 100% replacement.
    6) The best man for a job is a female tennis player vacationing in Palm Springs.
    7) The essence of feminism is obesity. No internal famine! “Feminism is hated because women are hated. Anti-feminism is a direct expression of misogyny; it is the political defense of women hating.” Andrea Dworkin

    “A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan” Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28. Mao Tse Tung

  • jhertzli

    I’d be more likely to take this seriously if it didn’t come from social scientists.

  • https://richgirls-studio.ro/ Rich Girls

    i knew this all along, ha

  • polistra24

    Less loss averse is NOT more rational. 100% loss aversion is rational. Anything else is dangerous.

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

      Risk is overpaying for opportunity. After DuPont was acquired by Dow, DuPont severed R&D with massive layoffs. Subsidiary profitability will first year soar, all risk having been excised. It will be dead in five years, killed by foreign shores’ R&D. Business schools are explicit:

      1) Taking is better than making.
      2) Eat your hamburger today, pay for it next Tuesday.
      3) Golden parachutes soften bad luck impacts.

      100% loss aversion is rational” Cristóbal Colón, and his three ships stuffed with Inquisition Jews. Europe finally gained traction by charging interest reflecting risk on loans. Cost must be coupled to price or markets collapse. The Federal Reserve is eloquent here, albeit by counterexample.


Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
Follow us on Twitter: @srslyscience.
Send us paper suggestions: srslyscience[at]gmail.com.

See More


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar