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The Cost of Disembodied (low-value) Thinking (Day 74)

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

The vertical axis is the % of 'yes, you can have parole'.

The horizontal axis is the time of day over 1 day.

We've been looking at how to cultivate and use high-value thoughts. The foundation of doing this involves becoming aware of your whole mind, primarily your body.

Today we looked at an example of what can happen when you focus too much on what you think, and leave out your emotions and body sensations (intuition).

'The Hungry Judge Effect'

Extraneous factors in judicial decisions


Are judicial rulings based solely on laws and facts? Legal formalism holds that judges apply legal reasons to the facts of a case in a rational, mechanical, and deliberative manner. In contrast, legal realists argue that the rational application of legal reasons does not sufficiently explain the decisions of judges and that psychological, political, and social factors influence judicial rulings. We test the common caricature of realism that justice is “what the judge ate for breakfast” in sequential parole decisions made by experienced judges. We record the judges’ two daily food breaks, which result in segmenting the deliberations of the day into three distinct “decision sessions.” We find that the percentage of favorable rulings drops gradually from ≈65% to nearly zero within each decision session and returns abruptly to ≈65% after a break. Our findings suggest that judicial rulings can be swayed by extraneous variables that should have no bearing on legal decisions.

I find it very interesting, but not surprising, that the authors themselves don't even specifically mention 'physical' factors (along with the psychological, political, and social), even thought they go on to mention 'eating breakfast'! I say 'not surprising' because the understanding to incorporate the whole mind – especially the body – is still a rare thing.

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