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讲外语能做出更理性决策

2014-02-24    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

情感经常会偷偷渗入经营决策之中,而且通常会产生不利影响。怎么办呢?研究结果证实,进行决策时不要讲自己的母语,而要讲外语。因为借助外语,人们能够保持一定的距离,屏蔽感情因素的影响,作出更理性、更符合逻辑的决定。

Note to CEOs: When your strategy team is making a big decision, ask them to talk it over in their second language.
致各位首席执行官:当你的战略团队进行重大决策时,要求他们用外语来进行讨论。

That's the upshot of an article published in the February issue of the journal Cognition.
这是《认知》(Cognition)期刊2月号上一篇文章的结论。

The article, which was titled "'Piensa' twice: On the foreign language effect in decision making, found that when people use their non-native second language, the decisions they make are more logical and less affected by emotional biases. In a sense, they hew closer to John Stuart Mills' idealized homo economicus (economic man).
这篇文章的题目是《三思而行:外语对决策的影响》('Piensa' twice: On the foreign language effect in decision making)。文章发现,当人们用非母语交谈时,他们做出的决定更符合逻辑,他们也会更少地受到情感倾向的影响。从某种意义上讲,这时他们更接近约翰•斯图尔特•米尔所说的理想型经济人。

"We found that in almost all economic problems that imply some kind of emotionality, in which intuition leads us to make decisions that aren't the best, people using a second language were less affected," said Albert Costa, one of the paper's lead authors and head of the Speech Production and Bilingualism group at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University.
这篇文章的主笔之一、巴塞罗那庞培法布拉大学(Pompeu Fabra University)语言产生和双语研究小组负责人艾伯特•科斯塔说:“我们发现,几乎所有经济问题都掺杂了某种情绪。这时,直觉引导我们做出的决定并非上策,而说外语的人受到的影响则较小。”

Costa and his cohort were inspired to look into the economic side of bilingual decision-making by a 2012 Psychological Science article by a group of psychologists led by Boaz Keysar of the University of Chicago.
让科斯塔和他的同伴们想到从经济角度探索双语决策问题的是《心理科学》(Psychological Science)期刊2012年刊登的一篇文章,撰写这篇文章的是以芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)心理学教授博阿斯•凯萨尔为首的一批心理学家。

In that study, the authors used a "framing" test called the "Asian disease problem," in which bilingual subjects are asked two questions: First, whether they would develop Medicine A, which has a 100% chance to save 200,000 out of 600,000 people, or Medicine B, which has a 33% chance of saving all 600,000 people and a 66.6% chance of saving no one at all. Second, whether they would develop Medicine A, with which 400,000 of the 600,000 people will definitely die, or Medicine B, with which there is a 33.3% chance that no one will die and a 66.6% chance that all 600,000 will.
这些心理学家在他们的研究中进行了一项名为《亚洲疾病问题》的“句子结构”测试。他们在这项测试中向懂两种语言的测试对象提出了两个问题。第一个问题是,你愿意开发药品A还是药品B:药品A在60万人中救活20万人的可能性为100%;药品B有33%的可能救活所有60万人,但一个人也救不活的可能性为66.6%。第二个问题是,你愿意开发药品A还是药品B:使用药品A,60万人中有40万人一定会死亡;使用药品B,60万人全都活下来的可能性为33%,全部死亡的可能性为66.6%。

Although the questions are statistically identical, subjects more often chose Medicine A in the first question and Medicine B in the second when they used their native language. That's because the framing of the question activates people's "loss aversion," an emotional bias that leads us to take more risks to avoid losses than to acquire gains.
虽然这两个问题中的数字完全相同,但用母语进行测试时,测试对象在回答第一个问题时更多地选择了药品A,回答第二个问题时则更多地选择了药品B,原因是第二个问题的句子结构引起了测试对象的“厌恶损失”情绪。在这种情绪影响下,人们会冒更大的风险来避免损失,而不是争取收益。

But when the subjects answered these questions in a second language, they did so more logically: They didn't change their answers based on how the question was framed.
而用外语提出这两个问题时,测试对象的行为更符合逻辑,他们并没有因为句子结构而改变答案。

Costa and his team took this further. First, they repeated the "Asian disease problem" in economic terms (changing "lives" to "euros"). They found that in a second language, the number of people who changed their answer between frames fell from 15% to 6%.
科斯塔和他的团队在此基础上更进了一步。首先,他们用经济概念重复了这项测试(把“人”换成了“欧元”)。他们发现,用第二种语言提问时,受句子结构影响而改变答案的测试对象所占的比例从15%降到了6%。

Then they ran a Holt-Laury Test, which examines how loss aversion affects our ability to make economic decisions under risk and uncertainty. In the test, subjects are asked to choose between two lotteries at 10 different odds (Lottery A, which offers a 1/10 chance to win $2.00 and 9/10 of $1.60, or Lottery B, which offers 1/10 of winning $3.85 and 9/10 of 10¢; the odds are then tilted to 2/10 and 8/10, 3/10 and 7/10, etc. until they are flipped).
然后他们又进行了一项霍尔特-洛瑞测试,目的是考察人们在面临风险和不确定局面时,厌恶损失的情绪对他们进行经济决策的能力会造成什么样的影响。在这项测试中,他们请测试对象在10组彩票中进行选择,每组彩票有2种,中奖几率和金额不同(在第一组中,彩票A赢2美元的可能性是10%,赢1.60美元的可能性是90%;彩票B赢3.85美元的可能性是10%,赢0.1美元的可能性是90%;第二和第三组彩票赢得同样奖金的几率分别是20%和80%以及30%和70%,依次类推。)

Figuring the expected payoff logically, one should choose Lottery A the first four times and Lottery B the last six. But people generally pick Lottery A several more times than they should because it "feels" safer. At least they do it that way in their native language. When Costa and his colleagues had participants use a second language, the emotional effect of "loss aversion" dropped and the subjects switched to Lottery B sooner.
合理计算预期收益后,人们应该在前四组中选彩票A,在后六组中选彩票B。但测试对象一般都更多地选择了彩票A,因为他们“觉得”它更安全。至少,用母语进行测试时的结果是这样。用外语进行测试时,厌恶损失情绪的影响减少,测试对象更早地开始选择彩票B。

So what does this mean for business?
那么,这对企业意味着什么呢?

"If you make decisions in a second language in business, you can better block the intuitive biases that will lead you to wrong responses," Costa said. "You can distance yourself a bit more and say, 'Hold on.'"
科斯塔指出:“如果用外语来进行经营决策,人们就能更好地防止直觉带来的错误反应。它能让人们稍稍置身事外,告诉自己‘稳住’。”

When I asked Costa if it would be good to push employees considering a new strategy, for example, to speak to each other in a second language while making decisions, he nodded vigorously.
我问道,对于正在考虑新策略的员工,要求他们在做决定时用外语进行交流是个好办法吗?科斯塔用力地点了点头。

"I would do it. I would. There are obviously other ways of doing it, but this is free," he told me. "When you want to distance yourself and not be emotional, move into a second language."
他回答说:“我会这样做,会的。显然还有其他办法,但这个办法不需要花钱。如果你想置身事外,避免过于情绪化,那就用外语。”

This effect also extends into entrepreneurial and investment decisions. For entrepreneurs, Costa says, considering their plans in a second language might not stop them from following a dream, but it could help them be more prudent.
这种效果对企业家和投资者的决定具有同样的影响。科斯塔指出,用外语来考虑自己的计划或许不能阻止企业家追寻梦想,但可能有助于他们变得比较谨慎。

"You would probably be more cautious in a second language. It's not that you wouldn't take risks, but that you would take them in a more logical manner," he said.
他说:“使用外语时人们很可能变得更加小心。这并不是说他们不会冒险,而是说他们会用更符合逻辑的方式来冒险。”

And at deal time, if you speak two languages, you might chose one over the other depending on whether you're pitching or being pitched.
和别人做生意时,如果你懂两种语言,你或许可以在它们之间进行选择,具体用哪一种语言取决于你是卖家还是买家。

"If I wanted to convince someone to invest in something, I would speak to him in his first language. On the other hand, if someone was pitching me, I'd say, 'Fine, but talk in my second language,'" Costa said.
科斯塔说:“如果想说服别人进行投资。我就会用他的母语跟他交流。反过来,如果对方是卖家,我就会说,‘好的,但咱们用外语来谈吧。’”

It's worth noting that using a second language doesn't make one better at all decisions. When solving simple, unemotional questions, people perform equally well in their native and second languages. And, Costa noted, it's not that some languages are intrinsically more logical than others -- German more than Spanish, for example. Rather, it's that using a second language helps you block out emotional noise.
要注意,使用外语并不会让你的所有决定都变得更好。面对简单而且不影响情绪的问题,人们用母语和外语时的表现相同。科斯塔还提到,没有哪种语言天生就比别的语言更有逻辑性,比如说,德语的逻辑性并不比西班牙语强。使用外语只是有助于人们屏蔽感情因素带来的影响。

In the end, this is one more reason for Americans to learn a second language. Only about 20% of the population is considered bilingual, and most of that group had the advantage of growing up speaking a language other than English at home.
最后,这是美国人学外语的又一条理由。懂两种语言的美国人只有20%,而且其中大多数都有从小在家就不说英语的优势。

Today, Costa and his colleagues are taking on moral judgments. In a classic test, subjects are asked whether they would divert a barreling train from one track, where it would kill five people, to another, where it would kill one. Then they are asked if they would push a fat man in front of a barreling train, if they knew killing him would save five people. When asked in their native language, 80% of people answer 'yes' to the first question and 'no' to the second.
如今,科斯塔和他的同事们开始研究道德判断问题。在一个经典的测试中,测试对象面对这样的问题:有一辆火车飞驰而来,让它继续前进会撞死5个人,你是否愿意让它改道,然后撞死1个人。接下来的问题是,如果测试对象知道把一个胖子推到火车前面就能让这5个人幸免于难,他愿不愿意去推这个胖子一把。用母语测试时,80%的人在第一个问题上选了“愿意”,在第二个问题上选了“不愿意”。

But in their second language, 40% of test subjects say they would give the guy a push.
而用外语进行测试时,40%的人表示,他们愿意去推那个胖子一把。(财富中文网)



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