The political scandals of the past two weeks - sharing confidential Covid patient details; transmitting pornography to unwitting young women; and an extra-marital dalliance - may cause a few to reflect on whether pressures of public office play a part in such parlous decision-making.
It is worth noting that one common method deployed by researchers to introduce stress to study participants is to make them deliver a speech - a task not unfamiliar to our elected representatives.
No doubt MPs and Ministers of the Crown, in particular, are subject to stresses beyond the terror of a lecturn at the Colville Rotary fundraising committee. Public scrutiny of one's every move, from popping into a liquor store to signing off decisions of heightened public interest, might give many of us the jitters.
Few would argue the triennial cycle of reapplying for your job through election isn't without trepidation, especially among those responsible for teams. The more elevated the responsibility, the tighter the squeeze. Todd Muller, perhaps, is the most recent and stark example of the Icarus paradox where he flew higher and further than he was equipped to sustain.
But is the politician's lot so demanding?
The 10 most stressful jobs, according to CareerCast's annual report, are: Enlisted military personnel; firefighter; airline pilot; police officer; broadcaster; event coordinator; newspaper reporter; public relations executive; senior corporate executive; and taxi driver. It would appear political careerist doesn't scrape into the top 10.
Noted, there is no paucity of poor life choices among the acknowledged high-stress occupations. While politics may be a comparatively low-pressure pursuit, all walks of life have shown a capacity to stray from the right path.
One trend, which continues to manifest in political scandals, is the disproportionate representation of men making the wrong calls. There may be a physiological explanation for that. Males and females respond differently to stress, according to Nichole Lighthall, from the University of Southern California.
It's believed this gender difference originates from differing responses to stress in the dorsal striatum and anterior insula, two areas of the brain also associated with reward-related decision making.
It has been demonstrated by setting volunteers to a risky task in which they could earn a lot of money - but also had the potential to lose everything. Men and women took similar amounts of risk in the control situation. Under stress however, men took more risks while the women tended to be more conservative.
None of this explains why grown men do such dumb things. However, researchers have also found men to be generally more overconfident than women in a variety of different domains, such as answering academic tests.
New Zealanders are, by nature, deferential when dealing with public figures. We may have given some men the impression they are infallible.
Following similar logic, perhaps the strain of ticking ballot paper boxes is also a highly pressurised prospect for many voters? Could this explain some of the terrible decisions this nation has been saddled with?
David Bowie sang - in Under Pressure with Queen - of "the terror of knowing what the world is about. Watching some good friends scream: 'Let me out'…"
Hamish Walker, Andrew Falloon and Iain Lees-Galloway have been let out. May they find calmer paths and clearer heads for their future choices. And may those who remain learn from their mistakes.