That Rational Stranger Within

A second language when used in decision-making promotes thinking that is more analytical and less impulsive, a 2012 study in Psychological Science reports.

“A series of experiments on more than 300 people from the U.S. and Korea found that thinking in a second language reduced deep-seated, misleading biases that unduly influence how risks and benefits are perceived,” writes Brandon Keim of

In essence, encountering the facts through a foreign language “diminishes the framing effect,” concludes the research team led by University of Chicago’s Boaz Keysar. Automatic responses to emotive language are reduced – we aren’t tricked by the ‘baggage’ our culture and experiences have been knitting into our native language since birth.

J. McShulskis

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