Published on 25/04/12 at 23:08:29 GMT by Redaksjonen
Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as you would in your native tongue?
Bilinguals who acquired their second language later in their life ("late bilinguals") make more rational decisions when thinking in their second language according to a new study from the University of Chicago (download the entire research article here on morsmal.org).
Hundreds of millions of people use more than one language on a daily basis to communicate and to work. People are usually less proficient in their second than in their first language and often acquire their second language in a classroom setting. A new study sheds light on how bilinguals use of their second language affects judgment and decision making.
It may seems logical to conclude that bilinguals would make the same choices regardless of the language they are using, or even better choices when using their mother tongue. However, a new study shows that using the second language produces better results.
The research team led by psychologist Boaz Keysar reports using one’s second language reduces or eliminates certain biases that otherwise infiltrate our decision-making.
- People who routinely make decisions in a foreign language rather than their native tongue might be less biased in their savings, investment, and retirement decisions. Over a long time horizon, this might very well be beneficial, the researchers write in the journal Psychological Science.
Illustration photo - brain research, photo credit: Sybren A. Stuvel
The researchers found in six experiments that the results held true for native English speakers who later learned Japanese, French, or Spanish, as well as Koreans who learned English.
The research team concluded that these effects arise because a foreign language provides greater cognitive and "emotional distance" than a native tongue does.
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