How a Second Language Helps You Make Better Decisions
Scientists believe that words which are less familiar to us exert less of an emotive pull, allowing our minds to evaluate a decision on more rational terms. Pues hablas español?
What's the Latest Development?
Recent research suggests that decisions made while using a second language are more rational than those made with one's mother tongue. In an experiment, University of Chicago researchers gave students 15 one-dollar bills and asked them to bet on the results of a coin toss. Students risked losing a dollar if they guessed wrong, kept the dollar and gained an extra $1.50 if they were right, or abstained from the bet and simply kept their dollar. In purely economic terms, the smart bet was to wager every time, but students who completed the experiment in English only bet 54% of the time while those using Spanish bet 71% of the time.
What's the Big Idea?
Why would using a second language help someone make better decisions? Scientists believe that when words are less familiar, they exert less of an emotive pull on us. According to this theory, the students using English in the experiment felt the natural aversion to loss—a phenomenon which can make us pass up opportunities for gain—more intensely and therefore bet less often. "Even when people fully comprehend the meaning of taboo words, reprimands, expressions of love, and advertising slogans, they react to them less emotionally in a foreign language," said the researchers.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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