Forget about dropping that Korean or Spanish or Japanese lesson, and not just because sticking with it might make it easier to navigate a polyglot world.
It can pay off in other ways too. People who think problems through in a foreign language – and it doesn’t matter which one – make more rational decisions and are more apt to take smart risks, especially in the financial realm, according to a recent study in the journal Psychological Science.
Left to follow their gut instincts, people are naturally loss-averse, sometimes myopically so, and often pass up favorable opportunities as a result, says Boaz Keysar, a psychologist at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study.
“Imagine I offer you $100, or we flip a coin and if it’s heads, you get $200, and if it’s tails, you get nothing,” Keysar says. “Most people would say, ‘I’ll take the $100′ and not risk getting nothing. Ninety-nine percent of people would do that, even if I offer $2,200 or nothing. We have an emotional reaction to a definite, immediate gain.”
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