Decision-making and the framing effect in a foreign and native language

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Winskel, H, Ratitamkul, T, Brambley, V, nagarachinda & Tiencharoen, S 2016, Journal of Cognitive Therapy, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 427-436.

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Recent research using scenarios such as the Asian disease problem has demonstrated a “foreign-language effect”, whereby the framing effect (tendency to be risk-averse in a gain frame and risk seeking in a loss frame) is not (or not as) apparent in the foreign language as the native language. The aim of the current study was to further investigate decision-making and the framing effect in a native language, Thai and a foreign language, English, using the Asian disease/Financial crisis problem (Study 1) and a novel financial decision-making task (Study 2). Results from Study 1 confirmed previous findings as a foreign-language effect emerged. In contrast, in Study 2, a framing effect emerged in both the native and foreign languages of the Thai participants. These contradictory results point to language factors as well as emotional and cognitive demands of the task contributing to the occurrence of the foreign-language effect.

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