Pregnancy hormones help mums-to-be identify threatening faces, suggests UK research
If those surging pregnancy hormones have you feeling a little rough right now, take heart – they also could be giving you a heightened ability to read faces, say UK researchers.
This increased ability to read emotions on peoples faces – especially threatening ones - could have developed to make mums-to-be more vigilant to potential threats, New Scientist reports.
In the past, studies have indicated that a woman’s ability to correctly spot certain facial expressions can vary depending on where in her menstrual cycle she is. Basically, greater perception happened on days where there were higher levels of progesterone.
In late pregnancy, progesterone and other hormones increase dramatically, and the researchers from the University of Bristol studied whether a pregnant woman’s ability to read faces varied during pregnancy. While mums-to-be tended to correctly identify happy or surprised faces equally well at week 14 and week 34 of pregnancy, when it came to faces showing fear, anger and disgust, those in later pregnancy were better at reading the faces. Amazing, huh?!
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