Women's reactions to men shift during the menstrual cycle. For example, during the phase of high conception risk, women prefer men with masculinized facial features. A favoured explanation for this effect is that women display an enhanced sensitivity to stimuli that have significant reproductive relevance during the phase of the menstrual cycle in which conception risk is high. Consistent with this viewpoint, the present research demonstrated that women's cycle-dependent attentiveness to "maleness" also extends to basic aspects of the person-perception process. Specifically, during the phase of high conception risk, women displayed an enhanced ability both to categorize men and to access associated category-related (i.e., stereotypic) material from semantic memory. The implications of these findings for contemporary treatments of person perception are considered.
- Information-processing strategies