慶應SFC 2013年 総合政策学部 英語 大問1 全文(解答済み)

 Three men serving time in Israeli prisons recently appeared before a Jewish Israeli parole judge. The three prisoners had completed at least two-thirds of their sentences, but the parole board granted freedom to only one of them. Guess which one:


Case 1 (heard at 8:50 a.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

Case 2 (heard at 3:10 p.m.): A Jewish Israeli serving a 16-month sentence for assault.

Case 3 (heard at 4:25 p.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

 There was a pattern to the judge’s decisions, but it wasn’t related to the men’s ethnic backgrounds, crimes or sentences. It was all about timing, as researchers discovered by analyzing more than 1,100 parole decisions. Judges approved parole in about a third of the cases, but the probability of being paroled fluctuated wildly throughout the day. Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time. As a result, it was only the man at 8:50 a.m. who was set free that day, even though the man at 4:25 p.m. had committed the same crime with the same sentence.

 There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior, however. Their erratic judgment was actually due to the occupational hazard of decision fatigue. No matter how rational you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue—you’re not consciously aware of being tired—but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, resulting in poor or irrational decisions—or simply the decision to do nothing at all, as in the case of the parole judges.

 Decision fatigue is the newest discovery involving a phenomenon called ego depletion, a term coined in honor of Sigmund Freud’s idea that the ego depended on the transfer of energy. This idea was generally ignored until the end of the century, when an American researcher named Roy Baumeister began studying mental discipline with his graduate students.

 At first they weren’t concerned with routine decision-making, but then a postdoctoral fellow, Jean Twinge, started working at Baumeister’s laboratory right after planning her wedding. As Twinge studied the results of the lab’s ego depletion experiments, she remembered how exhausted she felt the evening she and her fiancé registered for wedding gifts. Did they want plain white plates or something with a pattern? Which brand of knives? How many towels? What kind of sheets? How many threads per square inch?

 By the end, you could have talked me into anything,” Twinge told her new colleagues. The symptoms sounded familiar to them too, and gave them an idea. They purchased a range of simple products and presented them to their experimental subjects. The subjects were told that, in return for doing the experiment, they would get to keep one item at the end of the experiment, but first they had to make a series of choices. Would they prefer a pen or a candle? A vanilla scented candle or an almond scented one? A candle or a T-shirt? A black T-shirt or a red T-shirt? Meanwhile, a control group of “nondeciders” spent an equally long period contemplating all these same products without having to make any choices. Afterward, all the participants were given a common test of self-control: holding your hand in ice water for as long as you can. The impulse is to pull your hand out, so self-discipline is needed to keep the hand underwater. The deciders gave up much faster; they lasted 28 seconds, less than half the 67-second average of the nondeciders. Making all those choices had apparently sapped their willpower. They had decision fatigue.

 It turns out that once you’re mentally depleted, you become reluctant to make trade-offs. If you’re shopping, you’re liable to look at only one dimension, like price: “just give me the cheapest.” Or you indulge yourself by looking at quality: “I want the very best.” Decision fatigue leaves you vulnerable to marketers who know how to time their sales.

 Shopping can be especially tiring for the poor, who have to struggle continually with trade-offs. Most of us in developed countries won’t spend a lot of time agonizing over whether we can afford to buy soap, but it can be a depleting choice in rural India. An economist offered people in 20 villages in northwestern India the chance to buy a couple of bars of brand-name soap for the equivalent of less than 20 US cents. It was a steep discount off the regular price, yet even that sum was a strain for the people in the 10 poorest villages. Whether or not they bought the soap, the act of making the decision left them with less willpower, as measured afterward in a test of how long they could squeeze a hand grip. In the slightly more affluent villages, people’s willpower wasn’t affected significantly. Because they had more money, they didn’t have to spend as much effort weighing the merits of the soap versus, say, food or medicine.

 Researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major factor trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. Study after study has shown that low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems. Lapses in self-control have led to the notion of the “undeserving poor”―epitomized by the image of the welfare mom using food stamps to buy junk food―but researchers urge sympathy for someone who makes decisions all day on a tight budget. In one study, it was found that when the poor and the rich go shopping, the poor are much more likely to eat during the shopping trip. This might seem like confirmation of their weak character, but if a trip to the supermarket induces more decision fatigue in the poor than in the rich―because each purchase requires more mental trade-offs by the time they reach the cash register, they’ll have less willpower left to resist the chocolate bars and candies displayed there. Not for nothing are these items called “impulse purchases.”

 This isn’t the only reason that sweet snacks are featured prominently at the cash register. With their willpower reduced, people are especially vulnerable to anything offering a quick hit of sugar. While supermarkets figured this out a long time ago, only recently did researchers discover why.

 The brain, like the rest of the body, derives energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. To establish whether this could cause an improvement in self-control, researchers at Baumeister’s lab tried refueling the brain in a series of experiments involving lemonade mixed either with sugar or with a diet sweetener. The sugary lemonade provided a burst of glucose; the sugarless variety tasted quite similar without providing the same burst of glucose. Again and again, the sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The glucose would at least mitigate the decision fatigue and sometimes completely reverse it. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions; they resisted irrational bias when making choices, and when asked to make financial decisions, they were more likely to choose the better long-term strategy instead of going for a quick payoff.

 The benefits of glucose were unmistakable in the study of the Israeli parole board mentioned at the beginning of this article. In midmorning, the parole board would take a break, and the judges would be served a sandwich and a piece of fruit. The prisoners who appeared just before the break had only about a 20 percent chance of getting parole, but the ones appearing right after had around a 65 percent chance. The odds dropped again as the morning wore on, and prisoners really didn’t want to appear just before lunch: the chance of getting parole at that time was only 10 percent. After lunch it soared up to 60 percent, but only briefly. Remember that Jewish Israeli prisoner who appeared at 3:10 p.m. and was denied parole from his sentence for assault? He had the misfortune of being the sixth case heard after lunch. But another Jewish Israeli prisoner serving the same sentence for the same crime was lucky enough to appear at 1:27 p.m., the first case after lunch, and he was rewarded with parole. It must have seemed to him like a fine example of the justice system at work, but in actuality, it probably had more to do with the judge’s glucose levels than the details of his case.




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