Electoral Dysfunction

January 31, 2010

Men who voted for John McCain or Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential election watched their candidates chances dwindle as the night wore on. At the same time, say Duke researchers, the voters' testosterone levels were declining as well.

The researchers' findings mirror those of other studies of men who participate directly in an interpersonal contest—the winner gets a boost of testosterone, while the loser's testosterone level drops. The researchers now say that this can extend to vicarious "macro-scale dominance competitions" like elections.