26 May 2011

Of Justice and hunger

Well some will be relieved to know that this piece is written in the Queen’s English. I’ll try my best.

Research evidence has revealed that how lenient a judge might be is related to how close s/he is to a meal break! A hungry judge is an angry judge – you might think, and you’d be on the right track.

Recidivism amongst offenders also predicted outcomes. However, even after controlling for that factor, the effect of meal times remained strong.

As I’ve said before – and some have been blind to or missed entirely – it is what is below our level of conscious awareness that we need pay most attention to. I don’t think that any of the judges who were subject in the study would admit that because they were hungry and tired, they were more likely to rule in a certain direction. The reason I can think that is that they would be admitting to a bias of some kind due to a very human reason. However, I think there is something else. I don’t think they were aware of how their cognitive skills were being eroded by imperceptible effects of tiredness and hunger. Read all about it (or not): The Economist: 2011-08-14 

All of us like to think quite proudly that we are immune to matters that spring from the demands of flesh and blood. I call it an arrogant position. In my line of work (which is always classified), I see this day in, day out. I work amongst some colleagues who take control and occasionally push us through the lunch time ‘barrier’. I’ve always compensated in my decision-making, in those times, by slowing everything down, taking time to refresh myself. They may not like it – too bad. I’d nip to the toilet, to kitchen, for a drink of water, or skip off for even 30 seconds of fresh air (well a bit more) – and I always carry snacks of some kind.

Well, I won’t disappoint you all – or the Jumbie. I have to mention that word that he doesn’t like – the thing that he is blind to – that’ll take him at least the minimum of 2 years to come round to. Wait for it.. hold on. Smile  Here it is: SUBSTRATA!!!!