OVER the years, I have often wondered how some judges arrived at the decisions they have around the world, and not just in Pakistan. Some have been so bizarre that I suspected that factors other than the purely legal must have been at work.
Now, The Economist has supplied me with a possible answer. In the ‘Science and Technology’ section of its April 16 edition, the magazine cites an article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggests that hunger might play a strong role in determining how judicial decisions are reached.
The paper describes how Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University and his colleagues analysed 1,000 cases of parole applications heard by eight judges over 10 months. The team found that at the start of the day, nearly two-thirds of the applications were approved, but this number fell to nearly zero with the passage of time. However, after the lunch break, the number of approvals returned to their earlier high level.