The Foreign-Language Effect Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases

Keysar, B., Hayakawa, S.L. & An, S.G. (2012). The Foreign-Language Effect Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases. Psychological Science. June 2012, vol. 23, no. 6: 661-668.

Abstract: Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as you would in your native tongue? It may be intuitive that people would make the same choices regardless of the language they are using, or that the difficulty of using a foreign language would make decisions less systematic. We discovered, however, that the opposite is true: Using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases. Four experiments show that the framing effect disappears when choices are presented in a foreign tongue. Whereas people were risk averse for gains and risk seeking for losses when choices were presented in their native tongue, they were not influenced by this framing manipulation in a foreign language. Two additional experiments show that using a foreign language reduces loss aversion, increasing the acceptance of both hypothetical and real bets with positive expected value. We propose that these effects arise because a foreign language provides greater cognitive and emotional distance than a native tongue does.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Jun 01 2012, 12:00 AM by brendah
  • smousavi said:

    question1: when we are given a problem in a specific language, is there any evidence on which language we use to think about the answer?

    question2: it is assumed here that emotional distance leads to better outcome, is it objectively so? I can easily see this if the norm for valuation is rational choice theory only. How about experimental/empirical evidence?

    January 20, 2013 2:22 PM
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    July 18, 2013 4:49 AM
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