The effects of perceived status and degree of accentedness on listeners' social judgments

1992 1992

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Abstract (summary)

This study examined prejudicial attitudes toward Spanish-accented speakers, and subjects' willingness to change those attitudes by manipulating the status of the speakers. There were two accent conditions, low and high, and three status conditions, high, low and neutral. Attitudes were measured using a modified speech rating scale fashioned after Thakerar & Giles (1981). The scale included items for rating the speakers' status and style, and for making social judgments of the perceived competence and benevolence of the speakers.

Six undergraduate classes of approximately twenty-three students each were assigned to one of six possible groupings for combination of accent condition and status condition. Each group heard a taped passage which was pre-tested for accent level, rate of speech, pitch, and enunciation after which they filled out the rating scale. A second rating scale and demographic questionnaire followed the status manipulation (or a neutral introduction for the neutral group) and second passage.

It was hypothesized that the status manipulation would effect the social and rate of speech ratings in both high and low accent conditions. Subjects would be less willing to change ratings of a high accented speaker in a more positive direction, and more willing to change ratings in a more negative direction.

A 3 x 2 x 2 experimental design using the three status conditions by accent condition by time of testing was used. Between subject variables were status and accent conditions, and time of testing was a within subjects variable.

Results confirmed the internal controls for measuring the effectiveness of the status manipulation and the validity of the pre-test assertions. Status was found to significantly ($p<.001$) effect competency cluster ratings, but not benevolence cluster ratings. Accentedness of the speaker had no statistically significant effect. There were no significant effects for rate of speech ratings. The need to increase awareness of and sensitivity to stereotypical attitudes, and other implications for the educational community are discussed.

Indexing (details)

Social psychology;
Minority & ethnic groups;
Educational sociology
0451: Social psychology
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
0340: Educational sociology
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Psychology; stereotypical attitudes
The effects of perceived status and degree of accentedness on listeners' social judgments
Steinhart, Eugene
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 54/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Pace University
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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