Birth control pills alter the way women remember events, according to a new study out of U.C. Irvine. “The researchers arrived at this conclusion after an experiment involving 72 women who were either naturally cycling or on the pill. Every woman in the study viewed either a brief, narrated story containing ‘emotionally arousing’ elements or one containing only ‘neutral’ elements.” Women on the pill had better recall of the overall events of the story which researchers connect with elevated hormone levels.
What’s the Big Idea?
Memories are stronger when they are accompanied by emotion at the time of the event and hormone levels often influence the formation of emotion. “What’s most exciting about this study is that it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory,” said Shawn Nielsen, one of the researchers involved in the study. “There are only a handful of studies examining the cognitive effects of the pill, and more than 100 million women use it worldwide.” None of the research indicated that women lose memory by taking the pill.