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The Foreign Language Effect on Moral Judgment: The Role of Emotions and Norms.

Geipel J, Hadjichristidis C, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: But contrary to recent theorizing, this effect was not driven by an attenuation of emotions.An attenuation of emotions was found in both dilemmas, and it did not mediate the foreign language effect on moral judgment.We propose that foreign language influences moral judgment by reducing access to normative knowledge.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.

ABSTRACT
We investigated whether and why the use of a foreign language influences moral judgment. We studied the trolley and footbridge dilemmas, which propose an action that involves killing one individual to save five. In line with prior work, the use of a foreign language increased the endorsement of such consequentialist actions for the footbridge dilemma, but not for the trolley dilemma. But contrary to recent theorizing, this effect was not driven by an attenuation of emotions. An attenuation of emotions was found in both dilemmas, and it did not mediate the foreign language effect on moral judgment. An examination of additional scenarios revealed that foreign language influenced moral judgment when the proposed action involved a social or moral norm violation. We propose that foreign language influences moral judgment by reducing access to normative knowledge.

No MeSH data available.


Mean consequentialist ratings in Study 3.Mean consequentialist ratings (1 = forbidden, 4 = permissible, 7 = obligatory) by dilemma type and language condition (native language = German; foreign language = English). Error bars indicate the standard error of the mean. *p < .05.
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pone.0131529.g004: Mean consequentialist ratings in Study 3.Mean consequentialist ratings (1 = forbidden, 4 = permissible, 7 = obligatory) by dilemma type and language condition (native language = German; foreign language = English). Error bars indicate the standard error of the mean. *p < .05.

Mentions: Two data points were detected as outliers as their values were greater than three standard deviations from the means. We winsorized these two values by aggregating the mean and two standard deviations. The effect of language reported below remains even if we include the original values. The main findings for the moral dilemmas are illustrated in Fig 4. Notice that the pattern of the means of the four dilemmas (from lowest to highest: footbridge, lost wallet, crying baby, trolley) is consistent with that reported in prior research [2]. We conducted a 2 (Language: foreign vs. native) × 4 (Moral dilemmas: 1–4) mixed-factor analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with gender as a covariate. There was a main effect of language, F(1, 68) = 6.29, p = .015, ηp2 = .09. Mean consequentialist ratings were higher in the foreign language condition (MFL = 2.74, CI [2.51, 2.97]) than in the native language condition (MNL = 2.32, CI [2.08, 2.57]). This effect was not qualified by a language × dilemma interaction, F(2.63, 178.89) = 0.29, p = .811, ηp2 < .01. There was no main effect of dilemma, F(2.63, 178.89) = 2.58, p = .063, ηp2 = .04. Mauchly’s test indicated that the assumption of sphericity had been violated, χ2 (5, N = 71) = 16.53, p = .005, therefore degrees of freedom were corrected using Greenhouse-Geisser estimates of sphericity (ε = .88).


The Foreign Language Effect on Moral Judgment: The Role of Emotions and Norms.

Geipel J, Hadjichristidis C, Surian L - PLoS ONE (2015)

Mean consequentialist ratings in Study 3.Mean consequentialist ratings (1 = forbidden, 4 = permissible, 7 = obligatory) by dilemma type and language condition (native language = German; foreign language = English). Error bars indicate the standard error of the mean. *p < .05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4503530&req=5

pone.0131529.g004: Mean consequentialist ratings in Study 3.Mean consequentialist ratings (1 = forbidden, 4 = permissible, 7 = obligatory) by dilemma type and language condition (native language = German; foreign language = English). Error bars indicate the standard error of the mean. *p < .05.
Mentions: Two data points were detected as outliers as their values were greater than three standard deviations from the means. We winsorized these two values by aggregating the mean and two standard deviations. The effect of language reported below remains even if we include the original values. The main findings for the moral dilemmas are illustrated in Fig 4. Notice that the pattern of the means of the four dilemmas (from lowest to highest: footbridge, lost wallet, crying baby, trolley) is consistent with that reported in prior research [2]. We conducted a 2 (Language: foreign vs. native) × 4 (Moral dilemmas: 1–4) mixed-factor analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with gender as a covariate. There was a main effect of language, F(1, 68) = 6.29, p = .015, ηp2 = .09. Mean consequentialist ratings were higher in the foreign language condition (MFL = 2.74, CI [2.51, 2.97]) than in the native language condition (MNL = 2.32, CI [2.08, 2.57]). This effect was not qualified by a language × dilemma interaction, F(2.63, 178.89) = 0.29, p = .811, ηp2 < .01. There was no main effect of dilemma, F(2.63, 178.89) = 2.58, p = .063, ηp2 = .04. Mauchly’s test indicated that the assumption of sphericity had been violated, χ2 (5, N = 71) = 16.53, p = .005, therefore degrees of freedom were corrected using Greenhouse-Geisser estimates of sphericity (ε = .88).

Bottom Line: But contrary to recent theorizing, this effect was not driven by an attenuation of emotions.An attenuation of emotions was found in both dilemmas, and it did not mediate the foreign language effect on moral judgment.We propose that foreign language influences moral judgment by reducing access to normative knowledge.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.

ABSTRACT
We investigated whether and why the use of a foreign language influences moral judgment. We studied the trolley and footbridge dilemmas, which propose an action that involves killing one individual to save five. In line with prior work, the use of a foreign language increased the endorsement of such consequentialist actions for the footbridge dilemma, but not for the trolley dilemma. But contrary to recent theorizing, this effect was not driven by an attenuation of emotions. An attenuation of emotions was found in both dilemmas, and it did not mediate the foreign language effect on moral judgment. An examination of additional scenarios revealed that foreign language influenced moral judgment when the proposed action involved a social or moral norm violation. We propose that foreign language influences moral judgment by reducing access to normative knowledge.

No MeSH data available.