Talk – Sayuri Hayakawa

Dr. Sayuri Hayakawa from the CSD department will be presenting next week (2/28) on “Morality & Mental Imagery in a Foreign Language.”

Morality & Mental Imagery in a Foreign Language

Using a foreign language has been shown to change our choices. It can affect both risk preferences and risk perception, information processing, and perhaps most strikingly, our moral judgments and decisions. While an increasing number of foreign language effects have been found, little is understood about the underlying processes. I will argue that one such process may involve a dampening of the emotional “System 1” rather than an increase in the deliberative “System 2”. Furthermore, I will present data suggesting that this reduction may, in part, be driven by a reduction in the vividness of mental imagery when utilizing a foreign language. Because mental imagery is constructed from memories, which have been shown to be language-dependent, processing a scene in a less familiar language may result in muted visualization. This, in turn, has consequences for decision making.

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