Differential 28-days cyclic modulation of affective intensity in female and male participants via social media
The menstrual cycle affects many aspects of female physiology, from the immune system to behavioral and emotional regulation. It is unclear however if these physiological changes are reflected in everyday, naturalistic language production, and moreover whether these putative effects can be consistently quantified. Using a novel approach based on social networks, we characterized linguistic expression differences in female and male volunteers over the course of several months, while having no physiological or reported information of the female participants' menstrual cycles. We used a simple algorithm to quantify the linguistic affect intensity of 418 (184 females and 234 males) subjects using their social networks production and found a 7-day modulatory cycle of affect intensity that corresponds to labor-week fluctuations, with no significant difference by biological sex, and a 28-day cycle over which females are significantly different than males. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the menstrual cycle modulates affective features of naturalistic linguistic production.