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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00227

A blind spot in research on foreign language effects in judgment and decision-making

  • 1University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

One of the most fascinating topics of current investigation in the literature on judgment and decision-making concerns the exploration of foreign language effects (henceforth, FLE). Specifically, recent research suggests that presenting information in a foreign language helps reasoners make better choices. However, this piece aims at making scholars aware of a blind spot in this stream of research. In particular, research on FLE has imported only one view of judgment and decision-making, in which the heuristics that people use are seen as conducive to biases and, in turn, to costly mistakes. But heuristics are not necessarily a liability, and this article indicates two routes to push forward research on FLE in judgement and decision-making. First, research on FLE should be expanded to explore also classes of fast and frugal heuristics, which have been shown to lead to accurate predictions in several contexts characterized by uncertainty. Second, research on FLE should be open to challenge the interpretations given to past FLE findings, since alternative accounts are plausible and not ruled out by evidence.

Keywords: foreign language, Decision Making, uncertainty, risk, Heuristics, biases, Correspondence, coherence, rationality, Emotions

Received: 21 Aug 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Bernhard Hommel, Leiden University, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Michela Sarlo, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Boston University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Polonioli. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Andrea Polonioli, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, andrea_polonioli@hotmail.com