"Partisanship is defining more and more of our mental, social, and geographic lives," Rogers explained. "So when that part of ourselves gets dealt a pretty significant blow, it's a blow to the whole self for a little while."
To make matters worse, the pain of losing something is greater than the joy of winning something. That can be explained by the "prospect theory" in psychology. Consider this famous experiment conducted by the behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler. Half of the study subjects were given a mug and asked to sell it; the other half were asked how much they'd be willing to pay for the same mug. The "potential sellers" who already owned the mug valued their special object at about double what the "potential buyers" were willing to pay.
Now, giving up a mug isn't the same as losing an election — but the way we overvalue something we already possess compared with something we don't shows how much we hate and desperately try to avoid losing.
There is some good news in all this. In a few days, for people who see themselves on the losing team, the pure sorrow of losing is likely to fade.
The social psychologist Dan Gilbert has found that we overestimate the intensity and duration of emotional events, so that when something good or bad happens to us, those feelings of elation or despair don't last as long as we think they will.
You can see this in the research on people who suddenly become paraplegics or who win the lottery: After that disruptive event, they very quickly return to their baseline happiness.
To be clear: This election has inflicted many other kinds of wounds on identity likely to leave many groups — African Americans, Muslims, LGTBQ people, people with Obamacare, immigrants, the working class — hurting for quite a while. But partisan identity, it seems, is probably more resilient than we think.
Read the original article on Vox.