The effects of the menstrual cycle on social decision making

Carl Senior*, Ann Lau, Michael J.R. Butler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cyclic change in hormonal profiles between the two main phases of the menstrual cycle mediate shifts in mate preference. Males who advertise social dominance are preferred over other men by females in the follicular phase of the cycle. The present study explored assignment of high or low status resources to dominant looking men by females in either phase of the menstrual cycle. Thirteen females who reported that they were free from any kind of hormonal intervention and experienced a 28 day cycle, were invited to participate in a mock job negotiation scenario. Participants were asked to assign either a minimum, low, high or maximum social status job package to a series of male 'employees' that were previously rated to look either dominant or non-dominant. The results showed that during the follicular phase of the cycle participants assigned dominant looking men more high status job resources than the non-dominant looking men. However, during the luteal phase the participants assigned low status resources to the non-dominant looking men. Females are not merely passive observers of male status cues but actively manipulate the environment to assign status. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-191
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • hormones
  • social status
  • menstrual cycle
  • sexual selection
  • human resource


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