The influence of native language in shaping judgment and choice.


Constantinos Hadjichristidis


Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Trento, Italy; Centre for Decision Research, Leeds University Business School, Leeds, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]


As a result of globalization, millions of people operate in a language that they comprehend well but is not their native tongue. This paper focuses on how the nativeness of the language of a communication influences judgments and decisions. We review studies that compare decision making while people use a native language to when they use a nonnative language they understand well. The evidence shows that a nonnative language decreases the impact that emotions and socio-moral norms have on users, thereby reducing well-known judgmental biases and norm-related behavior. This effect of nonnative or foreign language brings to light the important role that the native language plays routinely in judgment and decision making. It suggests that the native language is not a simple carrier of meaning. Instead, it reveals that our native language serves as a carrier of emotions and socio-moral norms which in turn govern judgments and choices.


Bilingualism,Decision making,Judgment,Language,The foreign language effect,