If you thought the emotional effects of PMS were bad, wait until you hear what happens when you're most fertile. According to a new study from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, ovulating women may be meaner, more selfish, and more competitive with other women—but nicer to men. [Tweet this crazy fact!]
“The ultimate goal could be to attract the best mate who is available at the time, but it is other women who are driving females' behavior to outdo one another during ovulation,” reports lead study author Kristina Durante, an assistant professor of marketing at UTSA's College of Business. Durante first became fascinated with the subject after her previous research had shown how women preferred to dress sexier when they were ovulating—and they weren't doing it to turn men's heads, but rather women's. Getting dolled up sends other women the message to "Back off, I'm the queen bee."
Intrigued by the change in female behavior during that time of the month, Durante decided to take these tests a step further with three new experiments. In the first, she had women choose between two salaries, such as getting $25,000 a year if other women made $50,000, or receiving $20,000 a year if others made $12,000. Ovulating women were more willing to make less if that meant they had more money than other women. In the second experiment, Durante was able to show how ovulating women were more inclined to want a higher status (i.e., a better car, bigger ring, nicer house) compared other females. Lastly, she observed how ovulating women shared only 25 percent of their money with other women, keeping the rest for themselves. They were more generous, however, when the option was to share the moolah with men, giving them up to 60 percent, perhaps as a way to flirt. Non-ovulating women, on the other hand, shared about 50 percent with other women.
Despite the fact that women can now earn their own money, which can factor into decision-making, our brains are still wired the same way as they were a thousand years ago, Durante explains. “So for one week of the month, women become a little more aggressive toward other women, and this manifests itself not through violence but rather by becoming meaner, gossipy, or purchasing high-status items like handbags, houses, or cars."
You may want to think twice before you drop some serious green on that Birkin bag. Your biology might think it's a dream buy, but it might not be worth it if all you're trying to do is send a subliminal message that you're the top biatch around here.
"Having the knowledge about how you're going to behave mid-month gives you a lot of power," Durante says. Rather than give into desires to intimidate others, including loved ones, consider using your money for good, like a much-needed relaxing vacation.
What do you think of this study? Do you feel yourself becoming meaner when you're ovulating? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @Shape_Magazine!