Study confirms that taking the contraceptive pill has one major side effect
New scientific research has confirmed that oral contraceptives, such as the pill, effect our emotional responsiveness.
In a recent study, it was discovered that the hormones released by oral contraceptives influence women’s ability to process emotional situations.
The study, published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology found that women may be less emotionally in tune and find it more difficult to be empathetic to others, especially during their pill free days.
The researchers tested 73 women in total; 18 of them didn’t take oral contraceptives, 30 of them were currently taking them and 25 of them were on their pill free week.
Scientists looked at three factors which affect our ability to empathise; emotional recognition, perspective-taking and affective (emotional) responsiveness.
The women scored quite similarly on the first two tests, however there was a marked difference when it came to the different groups approach to emotional responsiveness.
To measure affective responsiveness, participants read one sentence hypothetical scenarios designed to evoke a specific emotion. They then had to choose which emotion they would feel if they were in the situation in real life.
The women who were on the pill scored much higher in this part of the test compared to the women who were on their pill free week.
Sina Radke,a neuroscientist at Aachen University, in Germany and corresponding author of the research believes that these findings will have far-reaching implications for women taking the pill going forward. She had this to say on the matter,
"Despite the widespread use of oral contraceptive pills, little is known about their impact on psychological processes and emotional competencies. Recent data indicate impaired emotion recognition in OC [pill] users compared to naturally cycling females...
If oral contraceptive use is linked to a reduced ability to recognise emotions, this might ultimately have negative consequences for relationship quality… by leading to more conflict. In light of the widespread use of oral contraceptives across the globe, effect of them are of interest to millions of users, their partners and society”