The Foreign Language Effect” In Moral Decision-Making

Student’s name

Professor’s name

Unit title

Date of submission

“The Foreign Language Effect” In Moral Decision-Making

The use of a foreign language is a common activity in the world among millions of people. This can be explained by sharing a romantic relationship with people who do not speak one’s native language, working in international companies, among others. People use a foreign language to share in emails, reports, or discussions. People make several decisions daily on different issues, and some involve moral dilemmas (Corey et al. pp. 1190). People also use a foreign language in verbal communications in day-to-day life. A foreign language directly influences judgment and decision-making in the domains of moral reasoning and risk perception (Al-Khatib & Charles, pp. 24). A foreign language is a language learned and used outside the environment where most speakers use it as a native language (Al-Khatib & Charles, pp. 24).

In an attempt to investigate whether and why the use of foreign language influences moral decision-making, two dilemmas were studied: the trolley and the footbridge dilemmas (Muda et al. pp 321). In the trolley dilemma, individuals could be asked to imagine a runaway trolley that is likely to kill five tied-up workers and cannot move. The person responding is in a position to access the train yard. The person has two options: first, do nothing and allow the trolley to kill five people, and second, to pull the lever and divert the trolley onto the side track and kill one person. The question will be if it is morally acceptable to pull the lever to divert the runaway trolley onto the sidetrack.

In the second dilemma, the footbridge problem, the scenario is similar. There is a runaway tram moving uncontrollably towards five people tied to the tracks, and there is nothing the individuals will do. The brakes are faulty, and without any intervention, the five people will die. However, the person is standing next to a huge stranger. The person has an opportunity to push off the footbridge this stranger, who happens to be large, to stop the tram from accessing the five people. This will kill the huge but innocent stranger but save five lives. The question here is whether it is morally right to push an innocent person to save lives.

The results from the two dilemmas used as study cases demonstrated that the footbridge dilemma is more sensitive to manipulating the number of people to be sacrificed than in the trolley dilemma (Muda et al. pp 321). The percentage of participants who are likely to sacrifice fewer lives to save more lives as morally right decreased when the number of lives to be sacrificed increased. The experiments demonstrate a relationship between the footbridge dilemma and the moral dilemma’s utilitarian aspect (Muda et al. pp 321). The causal structure is key in understanding moral reasoning (Białek et al., pp. 3). Intervention to the causal path in moral decision-making plays a key role in moral decision-making (Al-Khatib & Charles, pp. 24). This is based on the fact that moral reasoning changes the attentional weight on patient and agent.

The research indicated that people are more willing and ready to sacrifice one person to save more lives when the scenario is explained in a foreign language rather than in a native language (Muda et al. pp 321). The use of foreign language stunts emotional processing and attenuate deontological rules such as prohibiting killing (Hayakawa et al. pp 1388). The use of foreign language has many difficulties and can thus slow down and increase deliberation and amplify utilitarian considerations of maximizing welfare (Białek et al. pp. 13). When individuals are presented with false statements in both native and foreign languages (Al-Khatib & Charles, pp. 24), they show greater skin-conductance response with moral content than assertions with neutral or no content (Corey et al. pp. 1190).

Theories of decision-making advocate for dual-process models, which structure decision-making due to psychological processes (Białek et al. pp. 7). The two types of psychological processes are unconscious, parallel, automatic, and intuitive, while the other is controlled, slow, conscious, and serial. Intuition impacts judgment and decision-making through norms and gut-feeling (Čavar et al. pp. 18). Therefore, response to a moral question for either emotional heart thinking prompts (deontological response) or head thinking privilege (consequentialists response). Foreign language attenuates feelings, emotions, and norms (Hayakawa et al. pp 1388). foreign language promotes consequentialists responses. This is achieved by reducing access to important and relevant moral and sociocultural norms (Corey et al. pp. 1190). The use of a foreign language in a social context widens emotional distance.

Making moral judgment is a key aspect of social competence among human beings (Čavar et al. pp. 23). The use of taboo and swear words and emotional sentences is more emotional when used in a native language than in a foreign language (Hayakawa et al. pp 1389). Understanding the relationship between foreign language and moral decision-making is based on the trolley and footbridge dilemmas. The effect of foreign language on moral decision-making is real and not due to misunderstanding. The amplification of ERP waves for inspirational words is another issue to be considered. ERP waves may not differ in amplitude when used in the foreign or native language, but they differ in onset. When using a foreign language, the onset of emotional words is delayed (Białek et al. pp. 3). This implies that emotional words are more automatically processed in the native language than in the foreign language (Hayakawa et al. pp 1393).

The foreign language effect is found and modulated by the total amount of emotion involved (Al-Khatib & Charles, pp. 24). This means more utilitarian decisions were made in a foreign language than in a native language on personal dilemmas. Foreign language effect is constrained to personal dilemmas and emotionality involved. There is a foreign language effect on impersonal dilemmas. A foreign language does not elicit more emotional responses than a native language (Białek et al. pp. 3). A foreign language elicits more controlled processes and reduces emotional responses (Hayakawa et al. pp 1396). This confirms claims of dual-process account that there is a work of interplay between the two processes.

There is tangible evidence on how using a foreign language influences the moral evaluation of a moral dilemma. Foreign language effect is constrained to both personal and impersonal dilemmas. First, foreign language influences moral judgment by reducing mental accessibility of social and moral rules (Čavar et al. pp. 21). Moral rules prohibit people from pushing people or even keeping a lost wallet. Foreign language has less condemnation on violation of social and moral norms (Corey et al. pp. 1190). foreign language has slightly light words on condemning socially and morally acts such as cheating in an exam and cutting in line when one is in a hurry. In a foreign language, social, cultural, and moral norms are less salient. People will easily use inappropriate swearwords, and the translation will be different.

Foreign languages reduce the activation of social and moral norms by reducing access to relevant autobiographical memories. Language carries social and cultural norms learned at a tender age, and memories are language-specific. Therefore, cultural teaching and morals are more accessible when a language used to retrieve the teaching is similar to the language used at encoding. Moral and social rules are learned socially, and more chunks of social and moral rules are prohibitions against specific actions (Corey et al. pp. 1190). A foreign language is more likely to evoke memories of social and moral teaching to a smaller extent than a native language. Despite the relationship with the native language, the use of a foreign language reduced electrodermal activities in response to childhood reprimands. This is because most childhood teachings are built on “No” and “Don’t do that.”

The presentation mode as either reading or listening has no importance for the foreign language effect to occur. People are likely to respond more utilitarianly to the reading than to listen. Auditory of a foreign language had more impact than reading visual information. This is based on prosody and stress to facilitate comprehension and decrease the use of cognitive resources. The understanding of natives of a foreign language took a long time, and on an occasion where the decision was required quickly, one may make a wrong decision. Proficient bilinguals show an auditory foreign language effect because auditory modality elicits greater arousal than visual modality in the native language (Białek et al. pp. 9).

In conclusion, the paper has presented a strong argument that using a foreign language influences the moral evaluation of complex moral dilemmas. The use of foreign language increases the rate of consequentialists’ responses in the footbridge dilemma, but not in the trolley dilemma. The paper also indicated that a reduction or increase in emotionality drives the decision. This analysis implies a societal implication, such as making international decisions by international bodies like United Nations and Economics European Community. The decisions are made in a foreign language, mostly in English. The use of foreign language reduces access to knowledge of social and cultural morals necessary in moral decision-making. Therefore, international decisions should be swayed towards a consequentialist choice.




Works cited

Al-Khatib, Mai, and Charles R. Fletcher. “Autonomic arousal in a foreign language in the context of decision making.” Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 4.1 (2019): 24-1.

Białek, Michał, Mariola Paruzel-Czachura, and Bertram Gawronski. “Foreign language effects on moral dilemma judgments: An analysis using the CNI model.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 85 (2019): 103855.

Čavar, Franziska, and Agnieszka Ewa Tytus. “Moral judgment and foreign-language effect: when the foreign language becomes the second language.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 39.1 (2018): 17-28.

Corey, Joanna D., et al. “Our moral choices are foreign to us.” Journal of experimental psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 43.7 (2017): 1109.

Hayakawa, Sayuri, et al. “Thinking more or feeling less? Explaining the foreign-language effect on moral judgment.” Psychological science 28.10 (2017): 1387-1397.

Muda, Rafał, et al. “Reading dilemmas in a foreign language reduces both deontological and utilitarian response tendencies.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 44.2 (2018): 321.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper