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In 2011 Boaz Keysar

In 2011 Boaz Keysar, Sayuri L. Hayakawa, and Sun Gyu An conducted an experiment to test whether making a decision in a foreign language increased analytic decision making therefore causing people to be less affected by decision biases (Keysar, Hayakawa, & Gyu An, 2012). Six experiments were conducted testing out whether foreign language affected decision making. The experiments were divided, experiments 1A-1D tested the impact on the framing effect on risk attitudes, while experiments 2 and 3 tested the impact of using a foreign language on myopic loss aversion (Keysar, Hayakawa, & Gyu An, 2012).
For this study the sample sizes varied with each experiment, since they were split into different groups. Keysar, Hayakawa and An used an experimental research method to test their hypothesis. For each segment of each experiment they had a dependent and independent variable. For experiment 1a the independent variable was that they were all native English speakers who also spoke Japanese, the dependent variable was their fluency in Japanese which the participants rated their language ability from a 0-7 scale, suggesting 7 was full fluency. The average for their proficiency in Japanese and English was calculated, as was their current age and the age they begun to learn Japanese. The sample size was 121 students from different universities, they were then randomly assigned to perform a task in either English or Japanese. Experiment 1b was very similar but the native language was Korean. The average for their age and proficiency was also recorded, this time the proficiency scale was from a 10-point scale system. The independent variable was that they were all native Korean speakers, who also spoke English, and the dependent variable was their proficiency in English. The sample size was 144 students from Chung Nam National University in Daejeon, Korea, they were all randomly assigned task in either their native language or English. Experiment 1c has the same concept as the previous experiments, the independent variable was that they were all native English speakers who spoke French and the dependent was their proficiency. Proficiency was rated in a 10-point scale system, the different ages were obtained, and all averages were calculated. The sample size was 103 native English speakers studying abroad in Paris, France and each were randomly assigned to perform the experiment in either English or French.
Experiment 1d was not performed like the previous experiments it was more of a controlled study. For this experiment the task were presented in a foreign language but with three conditions. The first two conditions were both framed in terms of either gains or losses (Keysar, Hayakawa, & Gyu An, 2012). However, the third condition was framed in terms of gains but with option B having a higher expected value than option A. The reason this experiment was conducted different was to see if people were choosing at random or choosing the options with the most gains. The independent variable was all participants were native English speakers who also spoke Spanish, and the dependent was the proficiency for the foreign language. The proficiency was again rated on a 10-point scale and the averages were again calculated. The sample size was 84 students from the University of Chicago and each were randomly assigned to the gain-frame, loss-frame or modified gain-frame condition (Keysar, Hayakawa, & Gyu An, 2012).
Experiment 2 tested Loss Aversion, which means that people anticipate that the negative impact of a potential loss would outweigh the positive impact on an identical potential gain (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979) (Keysar, Hayakawa, & Gyu An, 2012). In this experiment the participants were presented with different positive expected-value bets that could have results in either gain or loss. The bets were presented in either their native language or the foreign one. This experiment tested whether using foreign language might reduce people’s willingness to take risk bets. The independent variable was that each participant was not monolingual, and the dependent was the language bets were presented in to each participant. One hundred forty-six Korean speakers participated in experiment two and all were students at Chung Nam National University in Daejeon, Korea, only 2 of these students did not participant in Experiment 1b. Experiment three tested myopic loss aversion, there was a total of 84 students from the University of Chicago and all were English native speakers whose foreign language was Spanish. Each participant received fifteen dollars in one-dollar bills, so they could place fifteen different bets. They could either keep a dollar or place a bet and risk losing and prevent them from gaining $2.50. They performed these best in either Spanish or English and were randomly assigned. The age averages were calculated and their fluency in the language was rated in a 30-point visual scale. The independent variable was that they were native English speakers who also spoke Spanish, and the dependent was their proficiency in the foreign language.
The results for experiments 1a-1c were provided using graphs, and it showed that when participants answered the gain-frame problems in their native language more preferred the sure option, but when the question was provided in the foreign language the bar graphs showed more of an even either or. The results showed little evidence that cognitive load directly affects the framing effect, but it can increase the probability of choosing the sure option (Keysar, Hayakawa, ; Gyu An, 2012). For experiment 1d showed very similar results from experiments 1a-1c, this showed that using a foreign language diminishes the framing effect, instead of intensifying it. For experiment 2 it shows that people are less reluctant to take bets in a foreign language than in their native one. Lastly for experiment 3, showed similar results even when not using hypothetical bets (Keysar, Hayakawa, ; Gyu An, 2012).
Critique:
All in all, I feel that the structure of the study was coherent and well done. There were a couple issues that I myself would correct. I feel that the variety of languages tested and the diversity of people that participated, provided this experiment with great values to perform statistical test on. Since there was high diversity and organization with the study, I believe that the results obtained are accurate.
In experiments 1a-1d the amount of people tested was vast, I believe a couple of errors were made when designing the experiment. For experiment 1a 121 students were tested from various universities and were given a 0-7 scale to rate their own proficiency in Japanese. The first problem without comparing to the other experiments is the self-rating the researchers allowed the participants to do. In my opinion I believe an expert should have been introduced to the experiment and rated each participant in the scale provided. This could be an error because, some people may over rate themselves or under rate themselves. Now, comparing to experiments 1b, 1c and 1d the sample sizes all vary. Another issue with the rating scale is for experiments 1b and 1c, they were given s 0-10 rating, I believe the rating system should remain constant throughout the entire experiment to avoid discrepancies. Another error I believe could have affected the results is for experiments 1a-1c the sample sizes are all in the mid 100 levels, but when experiment 1d was performed the sample size dropped to 84 participants. Without a constant sample size, the statistical results could be affected, especially dealing with percentages. One more item that I would change in the way experiments 1a-1d were conducted, would be if the task provided to the participants could be elaborated, I felt a bit confused as to what the task may be.
Experiments two and three also had their own issues, which in turn could affect the results. The errors again come from the sample size each experiment had. Experiment 2 has 146 participants while experiment three only had 54. I believe this vast difference in sample sizes can dramatically skew the results and can make it hard to compare and analyze the experiments because in one test you are assessing a little less in half of the people tested in the other experiment. One more problem that I noticed in experiments 2 and 3 were that in experiment 2 the participants were tested with hypothetical task while in experiment 3 they were tested with non-hypothetical scenarios. Although the results were similar for both experiments, I feel that this is when the sample size can skew the results and make it appear as though using hypothetical situations for one test and non-hypothetical situations for the other does not have any effect in the results.
Overall, I do believe that this study was designed and researched very well. The problems I myself would have corrected all come from a belief that consistency is key in an experiment. If testing the proficiency of a language, the scale provided should be constant, and although the sample sizes were great, that should also be a constant, and if not constant, not have such a drastic change in people tested from one experiment to the other.
Summary:
Boaz Keysar, Sayuri L. Hayakawa, and Sun Gyu An researched and studied the effects a foreign language has on our decision making. They provided information and research on how risky behavior or decision making in general can cause an increased systematicity. They conducted several experiments and tested whether we answer more strategically with our native language then we do with a foreign language. They not only tested how we differ in answering gain and loss questions but also how we differ in answering on risky behavior. The authors concluded that in the long run the fact that answering questions or placing bets in a foreign language reduces for example myopic loss aversion, it could be very beneficial for our savings, investments and retirement decisions (Keysar, Hayakawa, ; Gyu An, 2012).

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