Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Stuart Stritzler-Levine

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The previous studies have shown that people make different decisions not only after reading and also listening to moral dilemmas in a foreign language (L2) than in a native language (L1). This effect is named Moral Foreign Language Effect (MFLE). Emotion, which is considered to play a pivotal role in moral judgments, is also found to have a close interaction with sounds. The current research aims to (1) investigate whether the sound of different languages (i.e. accents) can also trigger the MFLE in listeners’ moral decision-making and (2) examine the foreign accent effect on listeners’ moral reasoning pattern. Chinese ESL college students were recruited as listeners of Chinese-accented and English-accented speech of moral dilemmas in Mandarin and English. However, although the study revealed a potential foreign accent effect on moral reasoning patterns in native-accented Chinese and foreign-accented Chinese, contradicting our predictions, a foreign accent effect on moral decisions and moral reasoning patterns was not detected. Neither the higher proficiency in L2 was found associated with moral reasoning patterns employed in L2-sounding speech. With potential explanations of the results, and future improvements and research directions in moral psychology are also discussed.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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