Casting vote causes stress hormone levels to shoot up

July 6th, 2011 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 6 (IANS) Voting in elections is stressful, even to a point of causing hormonal changes among voters.

The level of cortisol — a hormone released when a person is under pressure and which helps the body cope with threats — immediately prior to casting a vote was significantly higher than when the same individuals were in non-voting conditions.

“It is important to understand that emotions can affect biological processes, which in turn can influence our decision-making processes,” said Israel Waismel-Manor of the School of Political Science, University of Haifa, who led the study.

The main hormone is cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”. The present study set out to determine whether voting in elections is a stressful experience, the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology reports.

The survey was conducted on the day of Israel’s 2009 national elections. One hundred and thirteen voters just about to enter the ballot booth were asked to provide a saliva sample to be examined for cortisol levels, according to a Haifa statement.

The results show that the level of cortisol in individuals immediately before voting was almost three times higher than in the following day.

The study also found that voters who said they would vote for a party which polls predicted will lose seats, had higher levels of cortisol than those who intended to vote for a party which polls predicted were to gain seats.

–Indo-Asian News service

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