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Module 2 Decision Making is Enhanced on Bilingual People

Module Introduction and Background

          The  cognitive  benefits  of  learning  foreign  languages  are well  documented.  Moore (1998-2015) mentions that studies   consistently   reveal   that   bilinguals,  compared   with  monolinguals,  enjoy  enhanced  cognitive command, better creativity, and superior problem solving abilities . Making decisions  is a crucial part of the process of solving problems and has a  big influence in daily  life  due to the need of making decisions for big and little life situations. Neuroscientists  of Dartmouth College detected more overall activity in the brains of people  who  switch  between  two languages. Furthermore, bilinguals are more likely to take favorable and rational risks when making a decision. This  shows how bilinguals are most of the times better organized for making decisions, something that results very helpful in people´s routines.

Decision making is something that occurs routinely and makes people´s life simpler or more difficult at times. Bilinguals usually deal with this as any other person especially because of the selection of words, or language in which they communicate. It is known that being bilingual challenges your brain in a way that improves your executive system. Roitman (2013) explains that language shapes the way we think . In order to make decisions, being bilingual then molds the way we think, organize thoughts, and enhances decision making.  On the other hand, bilinguals for example, have denser gray matter in their language centers than monolinguals. They think more analytically and parts of their brain devoted to memory, reasoning, and planning are larger than those of monolinguals.

In other studies, Catherine Caldwel-Harris (2012), a well known psychologist and professor of the University of Boston, addressed the research made by some other researchers of the University of Chicago. They investigated if bilinguals were more analytical and less emotional when making decisions in a foreign language. They studied framing effects and found that decisions are verbally framed as involving a gain; humans prefer a sure outcome over a probabilistic outcome. When the same situation is framed as involving losses, people sometimes prefer to gamble. This means that bilinguals have a well organized structure that allows them to make decisions easily, being more analytic and less emotional as mentioned previously. Speaking in a second language could be extremely beneficial in evaluating choices and decision making. Decisions happen to be less biased, more rational, and more systematic when considered in a non-native tongue. Thinking in a non-native tongue helps us detach ourselves from emotions and make decisions in a more economically rational way.   


Module Goal


The aim of this module is to provide relevant information about the benefits of bilingualism on decision making in people´s daily lives.




Module Objectives

.1.To show up the features of bilinguals which make them better at decision making.


2. To point out how bilinguals behave in a more practical way due to their economical decision making.


3. To promote bilingualism as helpful in people´s daily routine



Module Activities

1. This video is about language and bilingualism in the brain it addresses the pathways and regions in the brain that are involved in the use of language and how they function in the bilingual brain showing the importance of becoming better at decision making.

Vídeo de YouTube


2. This activity is an article from The Washington Post about how bilingualism  can make you a better leader, whom needs to make important decisions as part of its role.



3. This article from Psychology Today is about how bilingual brains are  smarter and faster and how they have better attention and cognition which involves decision making.




Module Ancillary Resources

1. This link leads to a master´s thesis research about bilingualism in Norway by Maria F. Asbjørnsen. She addresses the fact that bilingualism improves decision making. Retrieved from


2. This article is about Your Mind on Language: How Bilingualism Boosts Your Brain by Dan Roitman. Retrieved from 


3. This site is about the link between economic decision-making how speaking in a foreign language helps in this fact By Sean Moore. Retrieved from


4. This site addresses how thinking in another language changes how people weigh their options by Catherine Caldwell-Harris. Retrieved from


5. This article shows that there are also several benefits you might not expect when you are bilingual,  knowing a second language changes the way you think and interact with the world. Retrieved from


6. This PDF seeks excellence in bilingual education with a guide for school principals by Peeter Mehisto. Retrieved from