WHEN a defendant is charged with murder and wishes to rely on the defence of provocation, two conditions need to be satisfied. First, the provocation must have caused the defendant to lose his or her self-control suddenly and temporarily. This is the subjective condition. Secondly, the provocation must be such that the reasonable person might have reacted to it in the same way as the defendant. This is the objective condition. This condition is, however, qualified, since it is possible to imbue the reasonable person with relevant characteristics of the defendant, to see whether a reasonable person with such characteristics might have killed had he or she been provoked. Although this qualification of the objective test has been recognised for some time, it has become a matter of recent controversy as to when a particular characteristic of the defendant can be considered to be relevant and what the rationale of this qualification of the objective test actually is. Two distinct lines of authority can be identified. According to the first line, a characteristic can, generally, only be relevant if it affects the gravity of the provocation: Camplin  A.C. 705 (H.L.). So, for example, if the provocation relates to the defendant's characteristic then it can be considered to be relevant, because the reasonable person would be more likely to have lost self-control if he or she had such a characteristic: Morhall  A.C. 90 (H.L.), Luc Thiet Thuan  A.C. 131 (P.C.). This line of authority does, however, recognise an exception to the general principle, namely that the reasonable person can be imbued with the defendant's age or gender, not because these characteristics affected the gravity of the provocation, but because they are characteristics which may affect the defendant's ability to exercise self-control: Camplin. But these are the only characteristics which can be taken into account for this reason. According to the second line of authority, however, any characteristic can be treated as relevant simply because it affects the defendant's ability to exercise self-control. This has been recognised in six recent decisions of the Court of Appeal, where the reasonable person was imbued with a wide variety of characteristics, such as battered woman syndrome (Thornton (No. 2)  1 W.L.R. 1174) and attention-seeking (Humphreys  4 All ER. 1008), simply because such characteristics affected the defendant's ability to exercise self-control.