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Time of Day & Influence

Time of Day & Influence
Suppose you have an idea, a proposal you want to pitch to your boss? When should you get on to her schedule? At what point in the day? Have you ever thought about this? What I’m showing you here is the proportion of rulings in favor of prisoners by judges serving on the Israeli Parole Board. And you can see that the proportion of favorable rulings fluctuates from about 75%, down to nearly 0 depending on the position of the prisoner in the review sequence. Which was randomly assigned by the way. Do you go first, second, third, or last? And you can see there are two massive spikes in the data. When the proportion of favorable rulings just increased exponentially.
Can you guess what those times of the day are? I hope you never have to consider this decision in real life. But hypothetically, if were to go up for parole, when would you want to do it?
These points in the data are your mid-morning snack and your lunch. This study joins a growing body of research that documents the importance of meals in terms of providing rest and replenishment of glucose as the key mental resource. When we’re rested and we have glucose as the key fuel for our brain, we’re much more likely to engage with a proposal. Much more likely to consider it thoroughly. When we’re tired and we feel mentally depleted, we’re not likely to engage. We’re much more likely to take an easy way out. Which in this case means rejecting the request for parole.
So next time you’re thinking of presenting, and you really want people to engage with your proposal and consider it on it’s merits, consider presenting early in the morning or right after food breaks.
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