Justice is Served, But More So After Lunch
April 14, 2011
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have found truth to the saying that justice is “what the judge ate for breakfast.”
The study involved over 1,000 parole board hearings in Israeli prisons, over a 10-month period. It was found that judges were most likely to grant a prisoner parole after their morning snack break (aruchat eser is a 10:00 a.m. snack break in Israeli culture) and after lunch.
Interestingly, when BGU’s Dr. Shai Danziger of the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management asked the judges if they had considered how food-breaks could impact their decisions, they said they wouldn’t have expected this effect.
Danziger thinks that the judges’ behavior can be easily explained. All repetitive decision-making tasks drain our mental resources. We start suffering from “choice overload” and we start opting for the easiest choice.
For example, shoppers who have already made several decisions are more likely to go for the default offer, whether they’re buying a suit or a car.
And when it comes to parole hearings, the default choice is to deny the prisoner’s request. The more decisions judges have made, the more drained they are, and the more likely they are to make the default choice. Taking a break replenishes them.
About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.
A. Lavin Communications