Stuck on a problem? Think in a foreign tongue

Thinking in a foreign language leads to more rational decision making and favourable risk-taking, research from the University of Chicago has found.

A series of tests saw native English speakers who were also proficient in Spanish bet on the results of a coin toss. When they considered the problem in English participants took the bet only 54% of the time, whereas those who did the experiment in Spanish took the bet 71% of the time.

The researchers argue this is due to people’s natural aversion to loss and thinking in a foreign language invokes a distance mechanism, seeing people shift from an immediate, intuitive mode of thinking to a more deliberate one.

Read more at University of Chicago