Psychology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

April 1978


Authors’ abstract for paper presented at the convention of the American Psychology Association, Washington, D.C., 1976.
Published in Julia A. Sherman, Sex related cognitive differences: An Essay on Theory and Evidence. Springfield, IL, Charles C Thomas Publisher, 1978.


Performance on complex (Space Relations and Verbal Reasoning) and simple (Digit Symbol) tests was investigated as a function of Byrne's Repression-Sensitization (RS) dimension, phase of menstrual cycle and premenstrual-menstrual (PM) symptomatology in a group of females not taking oral contraceptives. Two control groups, consisting of males and females taking oral contraceptives, were included. Equivalent tests were given at two sessions two weeks apart. Analysis of the Space Relations Test as a function of menstrual phase and Repression-Sensitization indicated the predicted interaction effect of phase by RS with poorest performance for the menstruating repressor group (p < .02), but the predicted deterioration by the premenstrual repressor group was not observed. Similar analysis for the Verbal Reasoning Test yielded an interaction effect of phase by RS (p < .03) and a main effect for phase (p < .05). As predicted, differences on the Digit Symbol test did not reach significance. Substituting PM symptomatology for RS, a significant effect was obtained only for phase on Verbal Reasoning Test (p < .05). Results were interpreted as indicating a reactive nature of repression, so that during menstruation, repression may interfere particularly with performance on complex tasks. The three subject groups did not differ significantly on any of the three tests; however, trends in the present data corroborated those quoted in the literature.