Native speaker accents are more credible, study suggests

USA Today reports:

Researchers in Chicago have shown that people with a noticeable accent are considered less credible than those with no accent.

The stronger the accent, the less credible the speaker.

The researchers asked Americans to listen to native and non-native speakers of English making simple statements such as “A giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can,” and then judge how truthful they were.

To guard against simple prejudice, the listeners were told the information came from a prepared script and wasn’t based on the speaker’s own knowledge.

Even so, on a scale where 10 was most truthful, native English speakers got a score of 7.5, people with mild accents a score of 6.95 and people with heavy accents a score of 6.84.

The article is available here from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (subscription required).


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