Women are more generous during the second half of the menstrual cycle

What if your sudden outburst of generosity was explained… by biology? According to a recent study by researchers at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, and published in the journal PsychoneuroendocrinologyWomen are more likely to give gifts and drinks to friends, family or partners during the second half of the menstrual cycle, that is, within two weeks after the ovulation phase on average.

Unsolicited prosocial behavior

In question ? A particular cocktail of hormones, specifically an increase in progesterone and a drop in estradiol, which usually occurs during the luteal phase of the cycle in order to prepare the body for the possible arrival of pregnancy. According to the researchers, this spike in progesterone, which peaks around day 21, would actually stimulate the “proactive and unsolicited prosocial behavior, support and protection”. Note that this monthly trend in charity only extends to those closest to you, and not to strangers.

The study was conducted on a total of 129 healthy women, aged 18 to 36, with regular cycles and not using hormonal contraceptives. In the experience program? They were led to make a series of choices between the so-called selfish option (choosing a monetary reward reserved just for them) and a more altruistic option, in which they opted for a less attractive individual benefit by sharing their reward equally with other women. . Choices they had to make while, in parallel, saliva samples were taken from each of them before being analyzed to assess the concentration of hormones at the time of the dilemma.

The woman more generous than man… by nature?

Regardless of the effects of the menstrual cycle, women are by nature generally more altruistic, generous, and caring than their male counterparts. It would be anchored in his brain, according to studies quoted by the doctor in neuroscience Sébastien Bohler in the journal Cerveau & Psycho.

“In their experiments, the Swiss and German scientists entrusted 29 men and 27 women with a sum of money of around 10 euros, which they could keep for themselves or share with someone else. […] first observation [établi par IRM], women share more than men: 52% of altruistic choices on average, compared to 39% of men. Second observation: In your brain, a key area of ​​the pleasure circuitry, the striatum, is activated more by altruistic choices, while this same brain structure is activated more often by selfish choices in men. Giving or keeping would therefore be reduced to the pleasure derived from it, a pleasure associated more with generosity in women and individualism in men. »

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