If you voted for John McCain in last year's election, you may have felt a twinge of disappointment when Barack Obama took the stage. If you're male, that twinge was more than political disagreement; Obama may have lowered your testosterone.
A Duke University study, conducted on November 4th, 2008, measured voters' testosterone levels before and after the winner was announced. Participants were asked to chew a piece of gum at 8pm, when the polls in North Carolina closed, and then again at 11:30pm after Obama's election was announced. By analyzing the spit samples in the gum, the researchers were able to analyze the testosterone levels of the participants.
Men generally experienced a slight drop in testosterone over the course of the night, but the participants who voted for Obama did not experience a drop in testosterone. Male voters who voted for McCain or Libertarian candidate Robert Barr, however, experienced a significantly greater drop in testosterone than would be expected. Female voters did not show a significant change in testosterone, regardless of whom they voted for.
Duke neuroscientist Kevin LaBar was excited by the indication that voters are physiologically so affected by election outcomes, and plans to perform a similar experiment involving sports instead of politics. He figures studying Duke basketball fans is a good place to start.