Monday, January 18, 2016

Learning a new language improves your decision making, scientific research finds

Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as in your native tongue?

decision making
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.

Researchers from Chicago University discovered, however, that the opposite is true: Using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases. 

In four experiments they showed that the framing effect disappears when choices are presented in a foreign tongue. Whereas people were risk averse to gains and risk-seeking for losses when options were presented in their native tongue, they were not influenced by this framing manipulation in a foreign language. 

Two additional experiments have shown that using a foreign language reduces loss aversion, increasing the acceptance of hypothetical and real bets with a positive expected value. These effects arise because a foreign language provides greater cognitive and emotional distance than a native tongue.

A recent Cursus article also mentions other benefits of learning a new language. It keeps your brain in shape, reduces Alzheimer and slows brain aging brain, just to mention a few of them. 

Foreign language knowledge looks better in your curriculum vitae (CV) and can boost your career.