On the effects of regional accents on memory and credibility

Frances, C., Costa, A., & Baus, C. (2018). On the effects of regional accents on memory and credibility. Acta Psychologica, 186, 63-70. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.04.003.
The information we obtain from how speakers sound—for example their accent—affects how we interpret the messages they convey. A clear example is foreign accented speech, where reduced intelligibility and speaker's social categorization (out-group member) affect memory and the credibility of the message (e.g., less trustworthiness). In the present study, we go one step further and ask whether evaluations of messages are also affected by regional accents—accents from a different region than the listener. In the current study, we report results from three experiments on immediate memory recognition and immediate credibility assessments as well as the illusory truth effect. These revealed no differences between messages conveyed in local—from the same region as the participant—and regional accents—from native speakers of a different country than the participants. Our results suggest that when the accent of a speaker has high intelligibility, social categorization by accent does not seem to negatively affect how we treat the speakers' messages.
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