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Selection of staff is an imperfect and pressurised practice. You get a few hours at best to assess your candidates before having to make a decision. How much better if we could evaluate each person over several months, having them perform tasks that we have set them, observed by our most trusted aides. At the end of such a thorough and intensive selection process I think we'd all be confident about getting the right person wouldn't we? Not if you're Sir Alan Sugar you wouldn't. I have been following the latest series of the Apprentice eagerly. Last week saw the last five candidates being interviewed by Sir Alan's cronies. The conclusion of the programme saw the great man not being able to identify the two best people for the final, opting to choose four instead.

To say I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. How can you have that amount of information on each person and still be unable to make a decision?

Over and above that exactly what is he looking for? It seems clear that he wants someone who can buy and sell, is entrepreneurial, can lead a team and be led. He also wants someone he can mould. He seems to focus on those characteristics to such an extent that he seems extremely unconcerned about lying, cheating, bullying, bribing, scapegoating, scheming, conning and sheer uselessness. He prevaricates whilst the rest of the country is shouting at their TV screens "Fire them!"

One of the main reasons why I watch the series is because of Sir Alan himself. He has shown himself to be tough, astute, witty. Now though, whilst still tough and witty, his judgement should seriously be called into question.

Regardless of whoever wins the final I think the producers ought to say "With regret, Sir Alan, you're fired!"

In my neck of the woods it has felt like a pretty poor spring to date. The weather has been overcast, dreary and very wet, which is all highly reminiscent of the last year when summer was effectively rained off.

In our use of language there is a connection made between weather and mood. Gloomy, depressed, cold, sunny, bright, warm are adjectives that are applied to personalities as well as the weather.

Most of us experience feelings of gloominess and lethargy during the winter months, but for some it is more than just feeling a little tired and grumpy. An estimated half a million people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every winter. Symptoms include sleep problems, lethargy, overeating, depression, anxiety, loss of libido and mood changes. The main treatment for SAD is exposure to a very high intensity light bulb, although the onset of spring and the longer days usually make symptoms disappear.

But it's not just SAD sufferers who benefit from the longer days; the majority of us tend to be more positive and have a stronger sense of well-being as spring and summer approach. Our mood is better or higher when:

- Humidity is low

- Sunlight is high

- Barometric pressure is high

The effect of temperature on mood is more variable. Our mood is typically better as the temperature goes up but if it gets too hot our mood declines. Furthermore, aggression also increases as temperatures increase, but again declines if it goes too high.

A good spring with sunny weather and higher temperatures boosts our mood more that it would in the summer when these conditions are less of a novelty. A poor spring then means we don' get that surge of positive energy and increased sense of optimism.

Overall the message is a simple one: at this time of year in particular make the most of any good weather you get. We spend over 90% of our time indoors so getting out, if only for half an hour, can have a positive impact.

Last year my colleague, Emma Trenier, and I had our heads buried in political biographies of the then Prime Minister Blair and his Chancellor Gordon Brown. We analysed the descriptions of the two of them and then drew up psychological profiles for them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, one year on, that our analysis predicted Gordon Brown's plight pretty accurately. The conclusion of our detailed profile said:

"Brown's strengths are considerable, in particular, his analytical skills, his thoroughness, his diligence and conscientiousness. These should not be underestimated. There is a sense in which, given Tony Blair’s personality, these are precisely the qualities that number 10 and the Prime Minister has been lacking.

His biggest challenge, however will be to recreate a sense of unity within the cabinet. The best way Brown has of convincing the British public that he is a man to be trusted will not be through spin or trying to smile more often in public, it will be through the government delivering on its promises and achieving a degree of consistency and not engaging in exciting but politically misdirected adventures. He needs to create a cabinet where the others feel involved and valued. This is easy to say and difficult to do, especially for someone with the profile suggested here.

If he is to change he will need to be persuaded that there is something in it for him, he will need others to give him constructive and positive feedback on his behaviour. However, the change itself will be difficult. From a personality profile point of view it may be very difficult to achieve. If he does not, however, he may quickly lose support amongst those from whom he will need it most i.e. the Cabinet. This difficulty in establishing collaborative relationships with a broad range of people could be his undoing. If he can change, however, this could be his route to becoming and being seen as a truly effective premier."

Brown is not only under pressure and beleaguered he also appears to me to be confused. The Prime Minister's style, deficient as it may be in quite a number of ways, has got him to the top of the political pile. He may not have seen the need to change as a result. What is clear though is that what got him to the top may not be enough to keep him there.

(If you would like a copy of the detailed profile please feel free to email me.)

Will the verdict of unlawful killing by the jurors in the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed end the conspiracy theories and if not, why not?

In 2006, the BBC carried out a poll that showed that nearly 60% of people didn't believe her death was due to an accident. The reason for this is due to what is known as the "major event - major cause" heuristic. In other words, the tendency to assume that when a high profile political or establishment figure dies suddenly it will be due to assassination.

A study carried out by Dr Patrick Lehman of Royal Holloway University of London presented participants with a number of scenarios about the president of a fictional country. In one scenario the president was shot and killed, in another the president was shot and injured, in the third the shot missed completely and in the fourth the president died of an unrelated cause. The participants were more likely to believe in a conspiracy when the president was shot and killed. When there is a major event we seek a major cause. The lone gunman is not a major enough cause for such a significant event and does not provide sufficient explanation for what happened. The same applies to the death of Diana and Dodi. A drunken driver, a speeding car and a tragic accident are not major enough explanations for the death of such high profile figures.

The research also found that some people are more prone than others to believe such conspiracy theories and we can assume the verdict recorded by the inquest will never satisfy them.

BBC's new talent show, 'I'd do anything' has attracted criticism for being an extended advertisement for the new production of the musical 'Oliver' but could it also be revealing prejudices in the voting public?

The show has a number of musical actresses who are all competing for the opportunity to be the new Nancy; there are ten actresses in total and each week they perform a song which is firstly critiqued by a panel and then by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. The viewing public then vote for the woman they would like to see remain in the show. The bottom two sing once more and Lord Webber decides who will remain.

There were two black performers in the show. In week two both were voted in the bottom two and had to sing off against each other. Lord Webber said that this was not a fair result based on the performances, but one had to go.

Week three saw the remaining black woman Keisha in the bottom two again despite the panel and Lord Webber deeming her to be better than some others. Last week she was in the bottom three.

Does this reveal the racial bias in the viewers? Well on the surface you might argue yes, but it might not be as straightforward as that.

Do we really think of any of the main characters being anything other than white?

The images that come to my mind of Oliver Twist are based on old photographs and classic black and white movies. I didn't associate any of the above with black people. The same will be true of Nancy.

The celebrity panel and Lord Webber very admirably stick to their task of picking out talent. Lord Webber attempted, at the start of week three's programme, to remind viewers to judge the performances in the same vein. He referred to not judging people on whether they are from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland, but on the way they perform. This instruction, worthy as it was, did not work in week two and hasn't been repeated since

Colour is one of the most identifiable features we have and our brains register someone's ethnicity almost before anything else. The association we make between Nancy and a white woman is so strong that we can't cast it off. The Lord needs to keep reminding us though on what we should be judging the women on but Keisha unfortunately will continue to have a rough ride unless she puts in some truly exceptional performances. This is probably the experience of many ethnic minorities struggling for recognition of their talent in a lot of organisations.

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