Evidence from neuroimaging for the role of the menstrual cycle in the interplay of emotion and cognition

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Abstract

Women show increased predisposition for certain psychiatric disorders, such as depression, that are associated with disturbances in the integration of emotion and cognition. While this suggests that sex hormones need to be considered as modulating factors in the regulation of emotion, we still lack a sound understanding of how the menstrual cycle impacts emotional states and cognitive function. Though signals for the influence of the menstrual cycle on the integration of emotion and cognition have appeared as secondary findings in numerous behavioral and neuroimaging studies, this has only very rarely been the primary research goal. This review summarizes evidence: (1) that the menstrual cycle modulates the integration of emotional and cognitive processing on a behavioral level, and (2) that this change in behavior can be associated with functional, molecular and structural changes in the brain during a specific menstrual cycle phase. The growing evidence for menstrual cycle-specific differences suggests a modulating role for sex hormones on the neural networks supporting the integration of emotional and cognitive information. It will further be discussed what methodological aspects need to be considered to capture the role of the menstrual cycle in the emotion-cognition interplay more systematically. © 2013 Sacher, Okon-singer and Villringer.

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Sacher, J., Okon-Singer, H., & Villringer, A. (2013, June 27). Evidence from neuroimaging for the role of the menstrual cycle in the interplay of emotion and cognition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Frontiers Media S. A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00374

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