Die Wirkung von Sexualhormonen während des weiblichen Zyklus auf das räumliche Denken

Eine interessante Studie beschäftigt sich mit der Wirkung von Sexualhormonen, insbesondere Testosteron und Östrogen, auf verschiedene Eigenschaften. Dabei wird die Veränderung während des weiblichen Zyklus behandelt:

The aim of this study was (a) to show that different measures of spatial cognition are modulated by the menstrual cycle and (b) to analyze which steroid is responsible for these cognitive alterations. The authors collected blood samples in 3-day intervals over six weeks from 12 young women with a regular menstrual cycle to analyze concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and folliclestimulating hormone. The performance on 3 spatial tests was measured during the menstrual and the midluteal phase. A significant cycle difference in spatial ability as tested by the Mental Rotation Test was found, with high scores during the menstrual phase and low scores during the midluteal phase. Testosterone had a strong and positive influence on mental rotation performance, whereas estradiol had a negative one. These results clearly indicate that testosterone and estradiol are able to modulate spatial cognition during the menstrual cycle.

Quelle: Sex Hormones Affect Spatial Abilities During the Menstrual Cycle

Aus der Studie:

In view of the significant differences between menses and the midluteal phase of the MRT, we expected a hormonal modulation of task performance. Stepwise multiple regressions for Session 1 data yielded a significant model, F(1,11) = 7.59, p = .02, if concentrations of only testosterone, β = .66, T(12) = 2.75, p = .02, were included and concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, and both gonadotropins were excluded. The correlation coefficient R was .66, explaining 43% of the variance. Stepwise multiple regression of Session 2 data revealed a slightly different result. The best fitting and significant model was obtained, F(1, 11) = 13.49, p = .002, if both estradiol, β = -.92, T(12) = -5.08, p = .001 and testosterone levels, β = .54, T(12) = 2.99, p = .015, were entered into the regression. The correlation coefficient for the second session was R = .87, explaining 75% of variance

Und aus der Diskussion:

The most important result of the present study is the significant difference in spatial ability as tested by the MRT between menstrual and midluteal phases in a design with a nearly perfect validation of the menstrual cycle. Although the sample size was small, this effect was very clear. The performance of all but one woman during the midluteal phase was decreased compared with that during the menstrual phase. This result is in agreement with most studies investigating the relationship between the menstrual cycle and spatial abilities (Hampson, 1990a, 1990b; Hampson & Kimura, 1988; Phillips & Silverman, 1997). In accordance with Phillips and Silverman (1997) and Silverman and Phillips (1993), the result appeared in the 3- D spatial test (MRT) only, an effect which could also in principle be related to a higher task difficulty (Collins & Kimura, 1997). In accordance with other studies (Hampson, 1990a; Phillips & Silverman, 1997; Silverman & Phillips, 1993), estradiol had a strong influence on this result, at least in Session 2. However, estradiol does not seem to be the only steroid that has an impact on spatial cognition. Testosterone alone and testosterone combined with the negative influence of estradiol had strong and positive influences on MRT performance.

Die Wirkung der Sexualhormone innerhalb des Zyklus ist natürlich insbesondere interessant, weil sie unabhängig von der Sozialisation ist. Es gibt keine gesellschaftlichen Vorgaben, nach denen Frauen in bestimmten Zyklusphasen schlechter in bestimmten Fähigkeiten sind. Es zeigen sich insoweit Unterschiede innerhalb der selben Person aufgrund der Hormone.