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The Influence of Accent on Person Perception.

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The Influence of Accent on Person Perception Introduction The aim of the experiment is to see if people make stereotypical judgements of other people based upon their accents. Various studies prior to this one have looked into this area of research for example, Strongman and Woosley (1967). They recorded two people reading out a passage, firstly in a Yorkshire accent and then again in a London accent so it actually sounded like four different people when in actual fact there were only two. 110 subjects took part in the experiment and were split into two groups (one group was from the north of England, the other from the south). They were asked to rate the speakers on various personality traits. They did this by way of a questionnaire; they rated the traits on a five-point scale and were asked to rate traits such as generous/mean, good looking/unattractive, intelligent/dull etc, there were eighteen pairs of traits in total. The results showed that one accent was not particularly favoured more than the other one but both groups held the same stereotyped attitude about the two accents for e.g. ...read more.


Method Design The experiment used a matched guise technique; this design is used because the same speaker adopted two verbal guises in the form of two accents. The speaker was a thirty-three year old white woman, who read the passage in the same 'neutral' style with both accents. The recording lasted for one-minute and fifty-two seconds and the content was a short article from as Huddersfield community newsletter, this was chosen because it is supposedly a less interesting topic so that the speaker did not develop 'character' whilst speaking which could influence the experiment. The independent variable is the rating scores and the dependant variable is which accent the person speaks in. Participants There were 151 participants in total, 68 of these listened to the RP recorded passage and 83 listened to the Yorkshire recorded passage. The participants were students attending a lecture on a psychology course. Apparatus/Materials The apparatus which were used were the tape recorded voices of the speaker reading the same passage first in the RP accent then in the Yorkshire accent, the tape player and the personality questionnaires (see appendix A). ...read more.


(2-tailed) COMPETENCE 3.413 149 0.001 SOCIAL ATTRACTIVENESS 2.764 149 0.006 Competence: t = 3.413, df = 149, p = 0.001 Social attractiveness: t = 2.764, df = 149, p = 0.006 Both scores are less than the alpha level (p = <0.05) which makes them significant. A graph to show the results of the competence ratings for each accent: A graph to show the results of the social attractiveness ratings for each accent: Discussion The basic aim was to see if people perceived people differently because of the accent they spoke in. To test this, two hypothesis were stated; firstly 'The speaker with the Received Pronunciation accent will receive a significantly higher competence rating than the speaker with the Yorkshire accent' and secondly 'The speaker with the Yorkshire accent will receive a significantly higher social attractiveness rating than the speaker with the RP accent'. The findings show that Received Pronunciation accent scores higher within both factors, which was accepts the first hypothesis but rejects the second hypothesis. The results show significant differences between the two accents. The results favour the Received Pronunciation accent over the Yorkshire accent. This supports the previous research by Giles where RP was also favoured. Student name: Natalie Roberts Student number: H0352626 Page 1 ...read more.

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