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Can accent training increase your credibility?

Written by on November 4th, 2014.      0 comments

Consider this question - Can a foreign accent influence a person’s credibility?   

Indeed both the speaker AND the listener may not be aware of this, but research has revealed that the answer is - yes.
We know that often when a person has an accent it can sometimes be difficult to understand them. For a number of Australians, non-native speech can be more difficult to understand than native speech.  As an accent makes a person harder to understand, listeners are less likely to find what the person says as truthful, University of Chicago researchers found.   More interestingly,
published in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology - See more at:
they found that the problem of credibility increases with the strength of the accent.

As people are always taking in new information, they are also constantly evaluating the information they absorb.  Their judgments of credibility includes how reasonable the information sounds, how credible the source is and how the person actually says it.  

To test the impact of accent on credibility, participants were asked to judge the truthfulness of trivia statements by native and non-native speakers of English.  Participants had both mild and strong accents and came from 5 different language backgrounds.

The results showed that on a truthfulness scale, the participants scored speakers with mild accents a higher score than people with heavy accents, however both were scored lower than the score given to native speakers.  The research showed that an accent made it harder for people to understand what the non-native speaker was saying and that the difficulty of understanding speech was often misattributed to the truthfulness of the statements.  

If the speaker undertakes some form of accent training, it can help to minimise this misattribution.    Accent training works on reducing the effects of accented speech that can impede communication.  This will assist with listener understanding and information processing.     To get the best results, individuals should choose accent training that is custom designed to suit their individual speech needs, with a highly experienced accent trainer who has a proven track record of achieving results.

The article referred to was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology