Thursday, October 22, 2009

Does Voting Democratic Make You More "Manly"???

Apparently the feeling of winning or losing an election actually affects one's physiology. A newly released study suggests that on election night, the testosterone levels of male voters changed when the results were broadcast. Male McCain voters saw a precipitous drop in their testosterone upon learning that their candidate had lost, whereas male Obama voters saw no change in their testosterone. In the parlance of the anthropologists and pharmacologists behind the study (which had participants submit saliva samples throughout the evening) elections are "dominance contests" which, like other competitions in society, "are a critical component of determining the leadership of social hierarchies." The feeling of victory of defeat, despite the fact that one did not win or lose personally, but vicariously, apparently triggers something quite deep in our psyches. Considering a variety of other variables, the authors find that:

the pattern of testosterone change remained significant even when variance in a multitude of factors was controlled for including voters' political values, support intensity for the candidates, timing of saliva collection, levels of conservatism, consumption of alcohol on the night of the election, and social surroundings on the night of the election.

Also of note is the fact that the testosterone levels of females was unchanged, regardless of whether one supported Obama or McCain. Apparently women are much more even keeled than men in this regard.

One can imagine all the arm chair extrapolation one could make from this study. Is Republican opposition to Obama not just based on policy differences but rooted much more deeply in a fear of "dominance"??? Can this be applied more broadly to some geographical variations in the vote--i.e. a southern inferiority complex??? One could run wild with this type of stuff, so feel free to hypothesize in the comments section. Anyhow, this is certainly a different way of looking at voting than what we normally consider here.

1 comment:

billandvi said...

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