Negative words aren't translated into the native languageWhen reading, multilinguals translate subconsciously into their native language. This happens automatically; that is, the readers do it without realizing. It could be said that the brain functions like a simultaneous translator. But it doesn't translate everything! One study has shown that the brain has a built-in filter. This filter decides what gets translated. And it appears that the filter ignores certain words. Negative words aren't translated into the native language. Researchers selected native speakers of Chinese for their experiment. All test subjects spoke English as their second language. The test subjects had to rate various English words. These words had different emotional content. There were positive, negative and neutral terms.
While the test subjects read the words, their brains were examined. That is, the researchers measured the electrical brain activity. In doing so, they could see how the brain worked. Certain signals are generated during the translation of words. They indicate that the brain is active. However, the test subjects showed no activity with the negative words. Only the positive or neutral terms were translated. Researchers don't yet know why this is. Theoretically, the brain has to process all words the same. It could be, however, that the filter quickly examines each word. It is analyzed while still being read in the second language. If a word is negative, the memory is blocked. In other words, it can't think of the word in the native language. People can react very sensitively to words. Perhaps the brain wants to protect them from emotional shock…