Forget your end of year run-downs and best of 2013 photo specials, it doesn’t get much better than this: ‘The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13’ from the Stirling Behavioural Science Blog.
As to be expected, some are a little better than others (well, Rolling Stone chose a Miley Cyrus video as one of their best of 2013, so, you know, no-one’s perfect) but there are still plenty of classics.
This one, from a study on parole rulings by judges based on the order of cases and when food breaks occur is particularly eye-opening.
This paper examined 1,112 judicial rulings over a 10 month period by eight judges in Israel. These judges presided over 2 parole boards for four major prisons, processing around 40% of all parole requests in the country. They considered 14-35 cases per day for an average of six minutes and they took two daily food breaks (a late morning snack and lunch), dividing the day into three sessions.
The graph looks at the proportion of rulings in favor of parole by ordinal position (so 1st case of the day, then 2nd, then 3rd, etc). The circled points are the first decision in each of the three decision sessions, the tick marks on the x-axis denote every third case and the dotted line denotes a food break. The probability of the judges granting parole falls steadily from around 65% to nearly zero just before the break, before jumping back up again after they return to work.
Moral of the story: don’t get banged up, make sure your judge has been recently fed, or bring snacks to court.
Anyway, plenty more fascinating behavioural science graphs to check out and no Miley Cyrus. At least, until she jumps on that bandwagon.
Link to ‘The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13’