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Early visual processing is enhanced in the midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle


Lusk, BR and Carr, AR and Ransan, VA and Bryant, RA and Felmingham, KL, Early visual processing is enhanced in the midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 62 pp. 343-351. ISSN 0306-4530 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.08.022


Event-related potential (ERP) studies have revealed an early attentional bias in processing unpleasant emotional images in women. Recent neuroimaging data suggests there are significant differences in cortical emotional processing according to menstrual phase. This study examined the impact of menstrual phase on visual emotional processing in women compared to men. ERPs were recorded from 28 early follicular women, 29 midluteal women, and 27 men while they completed a passive viewing task of neutral and low- and high- arousing pleasant and unpleasant images. There was a significant effect of menstrual phase in early visual processing, as midluteal women displayed significantly greater P1 amplitude at occipital regions to all visual images compared to men. Both midluteal and early follicular women displayed larger N1 amplitudes than men (although this only reached significance for the midluteal group) to the visual images. No sex or menstrual phase differences were apparent in later N2, P3, or LPP. A condition effect demonstrated greater P3 and LPP amplitude to highly-arousing unpleasant images relative to all other stimuli conditions. These results indicate that women have greater early automatic visual processing compared to men, and suggests that this effect is particularly strong in women in the midluteal phase at the earliest stage of visual attention processing. Our findings highlight the importance of considering menstrual phase when examining sex differences in the cortical processing of visual stimuli.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ERP, emotion, menstrual phase, midluteal phase, negativity bias, sex differences, visual processing
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Lusk, BR (Dr Bethany Sandhu)
UTAS Author:Carr, AR (Associate Professor Andrea Carr)
UTAS Author:Ransan, VA (Ms Val Ranson)
UTAS Author:Felmingham, KL (Professor Kim Felmingham)
ID Code:106201
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2016-02-02
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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