Autonomic arousal in a foreign language in the context of decision making

Mai Al-Khatib, Charles R. Fletcher


We test emotional distancing in a second language (L2) by replicating an experiment by Keysar, Hayakawa, and An (2012) on making decisions under the framing effect (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979). With their participants’ average Age of Acquisition (AoA) being around and beyond puberty, autonomic arousal was evident in native language (L1) but absent in L2. Our study showed no difference between L1 and L2 when AoA was around 4. However, when average AoA was around 7.7, autonomic arousal was evident in L1 but absent in L2, predicting an AoA threshold affecting L2 affective processing significantly earlier than puberty.


bilingualism; language and affect; decision making; age of acquisition; Prospect Theory; the framing effect

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Copyright (c) 2019 Mai Al-Khatib, Charles R. Fletcher

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