New Publication in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Crime and Punishment: Morality judgment in a foreign language

The current study examined whether use of a foreign language affects the manner in which people evaluate a criminal situation. We employed a range of crime scenarios, for which severity judgment scores were obtained. Crimes that were written in a foreign language were systematically evaluated as less severe compared with the same cases
described in the native language. We propose that these differences may be due to attenuated emotional processing in a non-native language. Crucially, this observed variation in severity judgment may also affect magistrates and police interrogators confronted with crime scenarios formulated in a foreign tongue. This in turn would have inevitable consequences for the penalty they will or will not exact on the suspect.

Keywords: decision-making, crime judgment, foreign language effect, emotional attenuation, morality

Woumans, E., Van der Cruyssen, I., & Duyck, W. (in press). Crime and Punishment: Morality judgment in a foreign language. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Impact Factor: 3.498. Ranking Q1. PDF

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