How Knowing a Foreign Language Helps Make Better Decisions
University of Chicago researchers have found that words in our native tongue carry more emotional impact than words in a second language, influencing how we make important decisions.
What's the Latest Development?
University of Chicago researchers recently tested a common psychological phenomenon, in which people deviate from rational behavior because of an emotional pull, on people who spoke a second language. They found that because words in a second language, when learned later in life, do not carry the same emotional impact as the words of one's native tongue, individuals made more rational decisions when using their second language. The phenomenon tested is known as the framing effect, which habitually causes people, for example, to avoid betting money even when the odds of winning are in their favor.
What's the Big Idea?
As psychologists learn more about how language influences our emotions, they increasingly recommend that foreigners seek out bilingual therapists and avoid conducting situations in which emotional cues are essential—a serious discussion with a physician or a police investigation—in a second language. The new data on second language use surprised some researchers who thought that the cognitive demands of speaking in a foreign tongue would drain people of the energy needed to overcome their emotions and make rational decisions. More research should be done to determine if bilinguals should regularly use their second language to make decisions such as buying a car or a health insurance policy.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.