Lecture: Accent stereotypes and their impact on language processing
People tend to categorize others based on their ethnic background, regional membership, and/or social class. We do not even have to see the other person for stereotypes to be activated: even a simple “hello” can be enough for a listener to socially and geographically categorize the speaker and infer implicit stereotypical associations concerning, for example, the speaker's competences (e.g., education level) and social skills (e.g., trustworthiness). As opposed to explicit associations, of which we are aware, implicit associations may lead to prejudiced behaviour without us even noticing it. Although we all unconsciously use accent stereotypes, little is still known about the influence of implicit stereotypical associations on the processing of language.
In this presentation, I want to focus on the question of how these implicit accent stereotypes can be assessed as well as how they affect the way we process language. Specifically, I will discuss how measures of brain activation can reveal the presence and impact of implicit stereotypes while listening to accented speech.