Without a doubt, there is a strong connection between our emotions and our native language. I don’t have to look any further than my own marriage for evidence of this. You see, my wife is Japanese, and the two of us speak English with each other on a daily basis. However, as soon as she gets angry or excited, she immediately and quite naturally switches to Japanese. And I do the same: if I’m speaking Japanese with someone and I get upset about something, English comes flowing right out of my mouth, almost uncontrollably. I think this phenomenon comes as no surprise to anyone who speaks a foreign language.
So here’s an idea to consider: if there is this strong connection between our native language and our emotions, can we purposely think in a foreign language in order to reduce the effects of our emotions on our decision making ability? Well, one recent study says that we can.
A group of scientists at the University of Chicago have shown that if we think in a foreign language, we can actually make better decisions. They looked into something called decision bias, which occurs when our emotions cloud or negatively influence our ability to think clearly about something. The scientists found that thinking in a foreign language reduces decision bias, causing people to think more logically, with less emotion.
So if you believe these findings, the next time you have to make an important decision in life, especially if its related to money, you might want to try thinking in English rather than your native tongue. If it works, this simple technique could potentially make the difference between loss and gain. Try it and tell us what you think.