Newly published research casts doubts on the link between women’s menstrual cycle and their political views, suggesting the association is “weaker or less reliable than previously thought.”
Widely-reported research published 2013 in Psychological Science found that women’s menstrual cycle influenced their religious and political orientation differently depending on their relationship status.
But a new two-part study by Kristina M. Durante of the University of Texas at San Antonio and her colleagues found that single women tended to become more socially liberal, less religious, and more likely to vote for Barack Obama during the ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle. Women in committed relationships, on the other hand, tended to become more socially conservative, more religious, and more likely to vote for Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney.
But a new study of 750 women, published in the journal PLoS One, found no evidence of link between menstrual cycle phase and political conservatism.
“In summary, our data offer little support for the proposal that there is a substantial, politically significant, effect of menstrual cycle phase on political attitude,” researchers Isabel M. Scott and Nicholas Pound of Brunel University London wrote.
The new study was not an exact replication of the older study. It began before Durante and her colleagues published their findings, and used slightly different methodologies. Scott and Pound used the Moral Foundations Questionnaire to measure women’s political attitudes, while Durante and her colleagues asked women specific questions about their views on political issues.
The new study might have examined deeper political values, while the older study examined more fickle attitudes, Scott and Pound said. “In the present study, one way we assessed political conservatism was by measuring the more abstract moral foundations that, according to research building on moral foundations theory underlie observed differences with political liberals and conservatives. Our measures therefore, are arguably less susceptible to preferences shifts associated with preferences for contemporary political figures,” they wrote.
Another study published in 2014 also failed to replicate the findings of Durante and her colleagues.
The researchers said their findings highlight the importance of replication in science.
“Replication is of course essential for the advancement of scientific knowledge and consequently it would be helpful for future research to continue to address the extent to which previously reported menstrual cycle effects on other behaviours are robust,” Scott and Pound concluded.