Washington: Researchers have found that ovulation alters women’s economic decisions and shifts their focus on their social standing relative to other women, making them meaner towards other women and, surprisingly, nicer towards men.
According to a new research from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, the ovulatory cycle alters women’s behavior by subconsciously motivating them to outdo other women.
The researchers conducted three studies, one of which had ovulating and non-ovulating women play the ‘dictator game’. In this popular economic experiment, a person is given a fixed amount of money that she can choose to share with another person.
UTSA’s Kristina Durante, lead author of the study, said that the study shows that ovulating women were much less willing to share when the other person was another woman and they became meaner to other women.
Whereas non-ovulating women shared about 50 percent of the money with another woman, ovulating women shared only half as much, keeping the rest of the cash for themselves.
In another study, where women made product choices that could either maximize their individual gains or maximize their relative gains compared to other women, ovulating women choose products that would give them higher standing compared to other women.
What’s interesting about this finding is that ovulating women are so concerned about their relative position that they are willing to take less for themselves just so that they could outdo other women, study co-author Vladas Griskevicius, associate professor at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, said.
But, the studies find that ovulation doesn’t always make women want more status. When women played against a man rather than a woman in the dictator game, the researchers found an even more surprising result.
Whereas ovulating women became meaner to women, they became nicer to men.
While non-ovulating women shared about 45 percent of the money with a man, ovulating women gave 60 percent of the money to the man.
Durante said that the findings of the study are unlike anything they have ever seen in the dictator game because people just don’t give away more than half of their money.
One possibility is that ovulating women share more money as a way to flirt with men, noted Durante.
The study is published in the February issue of Journal of Marketing Research.