DV: 7 point scale (1=innocent 2=guilty) Speech Evaluation Instrument - attitudes towards language
IV's: Accent - Brummie or Standard Race - Black or White Crime - Robbery or Fraud
The person that carried out the Robbery/Fraud is described as male, White and 5'9 tall
The person that carried out the Robbery/Fraud is described as male, Black and 5'9 tall
Aim: To test the hypothesis that a suspect with a Brummie accent would receive a higher rating of guilt than a suspect with a standard accent. Researchers also aimed to look at whether race of the suspect or type of crime would effect how the accent was judged.
119 white undegraduate psychcology students - University of Worcester - 24male and 95Females - mean age=25.2years. Participants who grew up in Birmingham eliminated as the research was looking at reactions of individuals who didn't speak with a Brummie accent.
A higher guilt rating was recieved when the suspect was Black and had a Brummie accent in the Blue collar crime
Race of Suspect - no significant difference between guilt ratings of Black and white suspects
Type of Crime - No significant differencebetween guilt ratings in the Robbery and Fraud conditions
Accent type - The Brummie suspect was given a mean rating of 3.65 compared to the suspect with a standard accent who was given a mean rating of 4.27.
Participants listened to a 2minute tape recording of a mock interview. Police inspector played by a standard accented male. Role of suspect played by male who could speak in a Brummie or standard accent. Participants played one verison of recordings. Recording included the type of crime and race of the suspect.
After listening to one version of the tape recorded exchange, participants comppleted 2 sets of rating scales. Firstly they rated the suspects level of guilt on a 7 point scale. Then they completed the SEL which measured the the participants attitudes towards the suspects language.
Dixon et al concluded that decisions about guilt may be affected by accents at leat in a British context. Non-standard English speakers tend to be perceived as more guilty than standard English speakers. A rang of social psychological factors such as accent, race and type of crime can influence a persons perception of a suspects guilt however further research is needed to determine why this is and the effects it may have in a court of law.
Speech Evaluation - The Brummie suspect was rated lower in superiority than the standard-accent suspect