We judge people by their accent, according to psychologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany). According to Dr. Tamara Rakic, who has recently published her study in the online edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: “The accent is much more important than the way a person looks.”
In their research, Dr. Rakic and her colleagues Professor Dr. Melanie Steffens and Professor Dr. Amélie Mummendey explored the influence of language on ethnic categorization. Dr. Rakic continues: “The classification into social categories, like for instance ethnicity, happens spontaneously and helps us to understand and simplify the complex world and to enable us to deal more easily with complexity. With our language we are not only transmitting information. Language itself provides a lot of information about the person speaking. . . . Those who have an accent give away their ethnic background as well.”
Rakic explains that in the past scientists assumed that visual cues were more important in categorizing unknown people. Language and accent has been neglected until recently. According to Rakic: “The results indicate that the participants orientated themselves nearly exclusively on the spoken accent while categorizing people.” The study emphasizes the great importance of language as a source of information in the ethnic categorization.
Additional Source: ScienceDaily.com.