CU Researchers Identify Election-Related Post-Pennsylvania Stress Disorder

America has discovered both a new president and a new disorder this week.

Today, CU Boulder’s Collmeyer lab identified a new psychological phenomenon caused by the 2020 U.S. election results. The researchers observed an acute disorder, called “Post-Pennsylvania Stress Disorder” (PPSD), among a significant portion of surveyed college students. The phenomenon results in a variety of symptoms and ranges from mild cases of browser refreshing to complete knowledge of census blocks in Allegheny county.

The most common symptom of PPSD is an impatient refreshing of election results. Symptomatic individuals often keep an election map browser tab open and have trouble focusing on academic assignments. Some respondents indicated checking election maps as often as once every five minutes.

A serious symptom is a recently improved knowledge of American geography. One subject lamented, “I knew I had PPSD when I noticed that I could finally name all of those weirdly shaped states.” This subject knew it was serious when they, “could even identify West Virginia and New Hampshire” on a map of the United States. In severe cases, this may also include knowledge of specific counties and regions in Pennsylvania. If you recognize Dauphin County, Lackawanna County, or Schuylkill County, talk to your physician about PPSD.

The most severe symptom of PPSD is the ability to correctly spell Pennsylvania. Initial research from the Collmeyer lab indicates that the percentage of Americans that can spell the state’s name has skyrocketed in recent days, suggesting potential community spread of PPSD.

If you have visited the FiveThirtyEight forecast, the New York Times elections dashboard, or any red and blue map online, you may have PPSD. Contact your physician immediately if you develop an intense interest in Pennsylvanian politics or geography.