Dixon et al

Dixon et al
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  • Brummie
  • Guilty
  • Innocent
  • Standard
  • 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.
  • 1 = Innocent
  • 7 = Guilty
  • Speech Evaluation Instrument  Attractiveness Dynamism Superiority
  • 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.
  • Results!
  • 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
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