Thinking in a different language affects how you make decisions

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The languages you know affect how you think.

Back in 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the economics Nobel Prize for showing that human beings don’t have a really good intuitive grasp of risk. Basically, the decisions we make when faced with a risky proposition depend more on how the question is framed than on what the actual outcome might be.

The classic example is to tell a subject that there’s going to be a disaster. Out of 600 people, she has a chance of saving 200 if she takes x risk. If she doesn’t take the risk, everybody dies. Most people will take the risk in that scenario, but if you present the same situation and frame it differently—”If you take this risk, 400 people will die”—the decisions suddenly flip in the other direction. Nothing has changed about the outcome. But everything has changed in terms of how people feel about the decision they have to make. This is the kind of thing that matters a lot to economics because it helps to explain why economic behavior in the real world isn’t always as rational and self-interested as it is in theory…

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Study says therapy can make you feel worse

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How has that therapy worked out for you?

Therapy doesn’t always work. Sometimes, it makes things worse. And a study indicates that the only person guaranteed to feel better about life after someone sits down on a psychologist’s couch is the psychologist. In a special report being published next month to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the journal American Psychologist has suggested that in their eagerness to help survivors to cope with the terrorist attacks, some mental health professionals may have exacerbated the trauma. Experts greatly over-estimated the number of survivors who might want treatment, and used discredited methods to help those who came to see them…

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Joy of Parenting a Fantasy: Cost of Children Forces Parents to Convince Themselves It’s Worthwhile


Bringing up a child in the 21st century is so expensive parents have no option but to tell themselves it is all worthwhile.

Most parents say they wouldn’t have it any other way. Children cause them financial hardship, eat up their time and cause untold worry… but mums and dads insist they are worth every penny, wrinkle and grey hair.


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