To Avoid Stupid Mistakes, Think in French – Businessweek   2 comments

Thinking about thinking in another language….

“So how does French or Japanese or Spanish help? One would think that having to puzzle out a question in a foreign language would make people more likely to foul up the answer. Not so, say Keysar and his co-authors. Cognitive biases such as loss aversion are deeply emotional responses, and understanding a second language requires conscious thought in a way that processing our native tongue doesn’t. Because we have to think more to make sense of the question when it’s in a foreign language, we automatically think carefully about the answer—we don’t just answer based on our cognitive biases. “A foreign language is like a distancing mechanism,” says Keysar. “It’s almost like you’re a slightly different person. You’re removed from yourself.” Interestingly, other researchers have found that you can get a similar effect by writing a question not in a different language but just in a difficult-to-read font.”

via To Avoid Stupid Mistakes, Think in French – Businessweek.

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Posted April 25, 2012 by arnoneumann in Language

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2 responses to “To Avoid Stupid Mistakes, Think in French – Businessweek

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  1. I write for a living and one very smart trick I recently learned, as I revise copy over and over (and get bored with it) is to print it out in a different font each time — that way it appears fresh and new and I am more likely (I hope) to catch errors and make improvements.

    • Thanks for the comment and the pointer. Not frequent enough that one can write and make a living from it. Quite sure that having a new book come out is rewarding . Good for you ! My training is as a scientist . I wish they would train us in storytelling. What good is knowlegde if we cannot convey it in an interesting and engaging way ?? Would love to stay in touch Caitlin……AN.

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