The foreign language effect on the self-serving bias: A field experiment in the high school classroom

Joeri Van Hugten*, Arjen Van Witteloostuijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The rise of bilingual education triggers an important question: which language is preferred for a particular school activity? Our field experiment (n = 120) shows that students (aged 13–15) who process feedback in non-native English have greater self-serving bias than students who process feedback in their native Dutch. By contrast, literature on the foreign-language emotionality effect suggests a weaker self-serving bias in the non-native language, so our result adds nuance to that literature. The result is important to schools as it suggests that teachers may be able to reduce students’ defensiveness and demotivation by communicating negative feedback in the native language, and teachers may be able to increase students’ confidence and motivation by communicating positive feedback in the foreign language.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192143
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2018

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