Boaz Keysar, University of Chicago

Date:
Monday, September 23, 2019 - 12:00pm
Location:
101 Peretsman Scully Hall

"Living in a native tongue"

Abstract:
While using language we make decisions, pass judgments, apply ethics, negotiate and so on. Our research demonstrates that the use of a native tongue mediates such judgments and choices because language provides an emotional connection, which in turn shapes and sometimes biases decisions. We investigate this by comparing decisions made in one’s native tongue to those made while using a foreign language. Keeping the information constant but varying the language we find that our native tongue contributes to decision-making biases, affects risk attitudes and guides moral choice. Living and functioning in a language, then, has surprising consequences for how individuals think, feel and operate, and it has important implications for millions of people who use a foreign language for social policy, negotiation and diplomacy.

By Year