The Emotional Cost of an Election

Your party won the election? Congratulations, you won’t care tomorrow. Wait, you guys lost? Well, prepare for a bit of suffering.

A study published as part of the JFK School of Government Working Paper Series has found that people whose party win the election are barely any happier than before, whereas those from the losing party suffer a substantial increase in sadness.

Researchers looked at daily online survey responses from CivicScience, a market research and data intelligence company, to compare the happiness and sadness reported by partisans in the lead up to the 2012 US presidential election. Those who won barely registered anything at all, whereas those who lost were very sad for about a week.

“We find that partisan identity is even more central to the self than past research might have suggested,” the researchers write. “In addition to affecting thinking, preferences, and behavior, it also has sizable hedonic consequences, especially when people experience partisan losses.”

Of course, based on our Facebook timelines, it could just be that intensely political types are more whiny than the average person, but that’s just, like, our opinion, man.

Photo courtesy of flickr

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