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Comedian jokes judges' rulings are harsher when they're 'hangry.' A study surprisingly backs him up.

The internet didn't take the comedian's pun-intended video lightly but a 2012 study revealed that his joke was indeed a possibility.

Comedian jokes judges' rulings are harsher when they're 'hangry.' A study surprisingly backs him up.
Cover Image Source: X | @BornAKang

People have often noticed either their acquaintances or strangers getting frustrated before mealtime. Having an empty stomach often gets our moods tied up in knots so much that we end up regretting our actions once we've had our meals. Recently, a comedy content creator on TikTok, Dan Hentschel, tried to harness this aspect to create a hilarious bit where he portrayed a "hangry" judge regretting his harsh rulings. Though Hentschel's video was completely pun-intended, it did not sit well with many users. But, surprisingly enough, Hentschel was not all wrong, says a study. 

Image Source: X | @BornAKang
Image Source: X | @BornAKang

In the now-deleted TikTok video, the comedian, dressed up like a judge, was eating his meal while suddenly realizing what he had done. "Finally getting lunch and realizing I gave a guy life in prison without parole because I was hangry," the text overlay read. Hentschel hilariously acted out how a judge would react when they realize their "hangry" mistake that cost a person's life. Though he was just a comedian trying to do a funny bit, people had objections about it. The video was reshared by Lance (@BornAKang) on X with the caption, "Imagine your judge posts this on TikTok after sentencing you," and it blew up with over 22 million views. The users were quite infuriated in the comments.



"What type of joke was that? I believe this happens often. Just think about how you react to work after a bad morning or bad night. Now imagine being a judge," said @ARnp824. "Why do some people always think that they’ll still get away with things after posting it online?" added @uf1o1VEuMrcr7B0. "Wait, why is this actually funny?" asked @Cardiisshook.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Katerina Bolovtsova
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Katerina Bolovtsova

Hentschel's joke was in fact a worrying truth revealed by a study conducted by researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel and Columbia University. The 2012 study titled, "Extraneous factors in judicial decisions," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, suggests that justice might actually depend on judges' state of hunger. On analyzing 1,112 judicial rulings by eight Jewish-Israeli judges collected over 50 days in 10 months, the researchers found that the convicts' parole requests were mostly granted at the beginning of the day when the judges had breakfast and also after they took a break to have their meal.

Just like Hentschel's joke, almost no parole requests were granted during the end of the session when judges were usually hungry. The study also suggested that this behavior could also be impacted by how mentally exhausted the judges were. However, extraneous factors like being hungry or tired were sure to influence even experienced judges to have psychological biases while passing a judgment. "Our findings support the view that the law is indeterminate by showing that legally irrelevant situational determinants—in this case, merely taking a food break—may lead a judge to rule differently in cases with similar legal characteristics," the study explained. The research also added that this inference might hold good not only for judicial decisions but also in other domains like political decisions, medical decisions, financial decisions and university admission decisions.

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