Poster C125, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Indirect impact of a foreign accent on cognitive processes with no spoken language.
Alice Foucart1, Hernando Santamaría-García2,3,4, Robert Hartsuiker1; 1Ghent University, Belgium, 2Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, 3Instituto de Neurociencia Cognitiva y Traslacional, Argentina, 4Centro de memoria y cognición intellectus hospital san Ignacio, Argentina
When a sentence like ‘Ants don’t sleep’ should be assessed as equally true (or false) independently of the speaker’s accent, it does not seem to be the case (Lev-Ari & Keysar, 2010). Using ERPs and pupillometry, we investigated the indirect impact of a foreign accent on cognitive processes that do not involve spoken language (sentence processing, credibility, memory and the visual perception of the speaker). To avoid interaction between accent and social status, prior to data collection, the social status of native and non-native speakers was set by means of a 2-minute video (the only time accent was heard in the whole experiment) and a visual discrimination game. In subsequent tasks, automatic responses associated to the high-status foreign-accented speaker consistently fell in-between those associated to the high-status native speaker and the low-status native speaker. For instance, sentences containing unknown information (i.e., when participants had to rely on the speaker’s knowledge) triggered different N400 amplitudes depending on the speakers. The results suggest that, despite having an equivalent social status, foreign-accented speakers seem to be considered inferior to native speakers. They also show that cognitive processes are affected by social status. Our findings are the demonstration of the indirect impact of the negative bias towards foreign-accented speakers previously observed with behavioural methods. The awareness of this bias is crucial to avoid daily discrimination in our multilingual society.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Other