Second Language Translates Into Clearer Thinking
Would you like to think more rationally, especially where you finances are concerned? Did you learn a second language in school — say, Spanish?
If so, University of Chicago researchers have a suggestion for you: Use Español.
A research team led by psychologist Boaz Keysar reports using one’s second language reduces or eliminates certain biases that otherwise infiltrate our decision-making. Specifically, our aversion to potential losse — a bias that can lead us to pass up promising opportunities for potential gains — diminishes as we ponder options in a language learned later in life.
“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,” the researchers write in the journal Psychological Science. “Over a long time horizon, this might very well be beneficial.”
Over six experiments, the researchers found the results held true for native English speakers who later learned Japanese, French, or Spanish, as well as Koreans who learned English.