As a lover of languages I was tickled to listen to a fascinating article on NPR recently. The article was an exploration of a couple of research studies that evaluated how people’s moral decisions are impacted by their choice of language. The studies, performed at the University of Chicago and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, describe how the decisions we make can differ depending on whether we are assessing the factors in our native tongue or in a second language. The intriguing conclusions to both studies found that people were significantly more likely to take greater risks when a scenario is presented to us in a language other than our native one. The situations proposed showed that people were more likely to take risks as well as being less emotionally impacted by the scenarios when evaluating the elements in a foreign, or second language.
Some people may think this is just an interesting topic for the linguistic intellectuals but we must remember that it would have significant importance to all of us given the fact that these findings are likely to be quite relevant in the settings of the United Nations deliberations, European Union talks, and international corporations and banking firms. I know that this is a bit cerebral but I think this is quite fascinating and it adds in one more element of intrigue to living in an increasingly global society. I encourage you to check out the study information for yourself. There is a good article to be found here, and here is an abstract to the actual study.
What do you think? Do you have any experience with this concept? I’d love to hear from anyone with first hand experience. 🙂
Peace and health,