My lucky number’s different in Chinese

Cultural differences in norms, behaviour and preferences have been well-documented. However, can simply speaking another language change the way someone behaves?

According to this study from the Max Planck Institute of Economics, it can indeed. Some lucky bilingual university students were selected to play ten different games – with a twist. Half of them received instructions in English, and half received them in Chinese. Those receiving the Chinese instructions were more likely to choose Chinese lucky numbers, were more cooperative and trusting, and expected others to be more risk-taking – which are all apparently more in alignment with Chinese norms than Western norms.

Perhaps France isn’t so unjustifiably paranoid about the creeping use of English after all…

The full paper is here: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2010_061.pdf

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