Israeli study finds that voting is stressful

People who vote in elections often experience high levels of stress - so much so that this can cause a hormonal change within them. This is the finding of a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University in Israel, who discovered individuals become considerably pressured immediately prior to casting their vote.

To be published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, the report found that the level of cortisol - a hormone that is released to help a person cope with threats - in voters was significantly greater than that recorded for non-voters.

Dr Israel Waismel-Manor, from the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa, which was established in 1963, said: "It is important to understand that emotions can affect biological processes, which in turn can influence our decision-making processes."

Data for the survey was gathered on the day of Israel's 2009 national elections by sampling the saliva of 113 people readying themselves to enter the ballot box.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Ashley Weinberg, of Salford University, commented: "The act of voting is tied into values and beliefs on a number of levels - it makes sense that where this means the stakes are perceived as high by the voter that there is some physiological reaction to voting. It would be interesting to compare these findings with other countries."