Lifestyle & Belief

Voting leads to rise in stress hormone cortisol, study says


A new study says that voting leads to a rise in the stress hormone cortisol.


Lior Mizrahi

Just in time for election day in November, a new study claims that national elections are a stressful event that show measurable hormonal changes in voters.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University used Israel's 2009 elections to demonstrate that voters showed high levels of stress and anxiety just before casting their ballot.

“Emotional changes are related and affect various physiological processes, but we were surprised that voting in national democratic elections causes emotional reactions accompanied by such physical and psychological stress that can easily influence our decision-making,” said study author Hagit Cohen, according to PyschCentral.

The study asked voters to give a saliva sample to test for cortisol, a stress hormone, and to complete a survey on their emotional state.

This was done just a few dozen feet from the ballot box just minutes before casting the ballot.

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A control group of voters from the same neighborhood were similarly tested after election day.

According to Science Codex, the cortisol levels in the pre-vote group were three times higher than in the control group.

Amazingly, the cortisol levels of the voting group were still double those of the control group 21 months later, said Medical Daily.

The researchers said it was unclear whether the finding could be used to better understand voter turnout or lackthereof.

The study was published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.