True confession time: Every once in awhile, there’s a hormone study that comes out that could potentially be so offensive or that sounds so ludicrous that I just hop right over it and write about something else instead. My worry is that either I’ll be bombarded with hate mail about a study I have nothing to do with (And I’m seriously thin-skinned—ask anyone who’s ever corrected my French. I just melt into une puddle). Or I worry that studies that seem silly, at least at first, will undermine the credibility of all the other respected hormone research out there.
But, that’s not really fair to you, is it? After all, you’re smart enough to make up your own mind about what to believe or to keep an open mind about surprising ideas. (Right about now, you’re probably thinking this build-up is leading to one doozy of a study. Trust me, it is.)
So, when news of a certain hormone study came out around the time of the U.S. presidential election last year, I dismissed it and wrote about other things. But, now this study has finally been published in a respected journal, so it’s crossed my desk again. Today, I’ve decided to share it with you because, once you get past the initial shock of the idea, it is pretty interesting.
Okay, here we go: According to a new study in the journal Psychological Science, your vote may be influenced by a combination of your relationship status and where you are in your monthly cycle. According to the researchers, single or dating women who were ovulating (which occurs at the end of Week 2 in your cycle) while voting in the 2012 U.S. presidential election were more likely to choose Democratic candidate Barack Obama (who represents, in general, liberal ideals) while women in committed relationships who were ovulating were more likely to choose Republican candidate Mitt Romney (who represents, in general, conservative ideals).
Now here’s what’s really interesting: When not ovulating, the viewpoint of the women who participated in this study didn’t differ all that much. What’s more, their ages and incomes were similar. The dramatic difference in their viewpoints came only during ovulation. According to the study, single or dating women became more liberal and less religious around ovulation compared to the rest of their cycle. Meanwhile, women in committed relationships became more conservative and more religious around ovulation compared to the rest of their cycle. This means ovulation had the exact opposite effect on these women’s viewpoints based solely on their relationship status!
So, why the big difference? As the researchers theorize in the full study (here’s a link to the .pdf), high estrogen during ovulation makes single women more likely to seek out short-term relationships—and being open to a brief fling is usually associated with a more liberal, less religious mindset. Meanwhile, women in committed relationships also feel this urge to have a fling, however, because they’re aware that they have too much to lose if they give in, they adopt a more conservative, more religious mindset that reminds that infidelity is wrong as a way to keep themselves from straying.
As a result, when making decisions during ovulation, you’re more likely to choose the liberal or conservative option based on your relationship status and whether or not you’re ovulating. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section…