When people vote, they often do it in schools, city halls or churches. And new research says our polling places may actually affect the ballots we cast.

The study published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion found that when voters were surveyed in front of a church, they gave more socially and politically conservative responses than voters who were questioned in front of government buildings.

Researchers think these differences in attitude could be the result of “visual priming.” In other words, people who could see a religious building were getting cues that influenced their responses, whether they realized it or not.

While the study was conducted in Europe and not in the US, people in more than 30 countries were involved. And the effect seemed to hold regardless of religious or political affiliation — so it’s entirely possible that Americans could be influenced by the buildings in which we vote, too.

[Scientific American]