tedster - 1:43 am on Sep 24, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't personally think so - mostly because human raters are used to assess changes in the algorithm before they go live. They do not rate individual live SERPs.
In fact. trying to do that just wouldn't be a solution that scales very well. As I see it, Google would need at least hundreds of thousands of human raters to do something like what you describe.
At the same time, you definitely bring up a changed pattern, one that I'm sure is real for your site and probably many others. However, I have some sites I work with that are not seeing this pattern at all. Newly published articles for them still rank very fast, sometimes within minutes.
What type of search term are you looking at here? Is it an "exact title match", a 3-word phrase, a high volume keyword, or something else?