Activities and Seminars

Albert Costa. Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own.
Date: Nov 15, 2013

What: Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own.

Where: BCBL auditorium

When: 12 noon

We are constantly making decisions of many different sorts. From more mundane decisions such as which clothes to wear every morning or where to go for lunch, to more relevant ones, such as whether we can afford the price of a nice holiday on a Pacific island, or whether an investment plan is too risky; decision making is an everyday-life activity. It is well-known that frequently our decisions often depart from a purely rational cost-benefit economical analysis, and that indeed they are biased by several factors that prompt intuitive responses that often drive the decision made. In this talk, I will describe several studies in which there is a pervasive effect of the language in which problems are presented on decision making. These studies cover economic, moral and intellectual decisions. Together the evidence suggests that a reduction in the emotional resonance prompted by the problem leads to a reduction in the impact of intuitive processes on decision making. This evidence not only helps to understand the forces driving decision making, but it also has important implications for a world in which people are commonly faced with problems in a foreign language.