自信与他信

Accent Trust

About 1.5 billion people speak English around the world. But for more than 1.1 billion of them, English is their second language, often with a noticeable accent.

“Your accent really reveals a lot about who you are and your identity. It will tell people what your native language is, be able to tell you probably where you come from.” Marc Pell, a communications professor at McGill University in Montreal. And according to Pell, one reaction to a different accent can be a bias against that person.

“Previous research that has been done elsewhere showed that people who have an accent tend to be trusted less, simply because they have an accent. But the idea that we would have a bias against anyone who sort of doesn’t sound like us I think probably relates to some sort of evolutionary or long-standing suspicion we have of outsiders or strangers. So this might be sort of an ingrained response that we have to the accent.

But accents aren’t the only thing we listen for when we have to decide if we trust another person. Tone of voice also plays a role. Pell and his team wanted to know if people would trust a confident tone, even if it came from someone with an accent.

The researchers had Canadian English speakers listen to different versions of people saying neutral statements like “she has access to the building” while they were getting a brain scan in an MRI machine. Subjects heard someone say it with a confident neutral tone with a Canadian English accent, an Australian accent or a French accent. Participants also heard the sentence with the three accents spoken in a doubtful or neutral tone.

The MRI scans showed that the participants had to use more brain power to decide if they could trust the statements said with the non-native accents. When the study participants heard the Australian or French accents, blood flow increased to the to the temporal lobe, part of the brain that we use to process sound.

MP: “They seem to have to analyze that perhaps more intensively or, or for a longer period of time to make this decision about whether they truly believed the speaker.” The work is in the journal NeuroImage.

When asked, the participants reported not trusting either Australian or French accents, except for when the statements were said confidently. Seems that confidence speaks for itself.

参考译文

世界各地约有十五亿人说英语,但十一亿以上的人,英语是第二语言,他们说英语往往有明显的口音。

我们可以从一个人的口音听出很多身份背景信息,母语是什么,可能来自哪里。蒙特利尔麦吉尔大学的通讯学教授马克佩尔表示,人听到与自己不同的口音会有各种反应,其中之一就是对说话人产生偏见。

此前在其它地区进行的研究表明,有口音的人获得的信任度更低,原因仅仅是因为他们有口音。但是,我们之所以对那些听起来不像我们的人持有偏见,可能跟人类进化有关,我们向来就不信任外人或陌生人。因此,这可能是我们对口音的一种根深蒂固的反应。

当然,我们决定一个人是否可信,也不只是听口音,语气也会起作用,佩尔和团队想知道,即使有口音,如果语气自信,是否也会获得他人信任。

研究人员让说加拿大英语的人听不同口音的人说,她可以进入这座大楼,同时,他们在核磁共振成像机上对受试者进行脑部扫描。受试者分别听了加拿大口音,澳大利亚口音或法国口音,但都是自信的语气,还听三种口音的犹疑语气和三种口音的平淡语气。

脑扫描显示,受试者听到非本土口音的时候,会花费更多脑力决定听到的话是否可信。当受试者听到澳大利亚或法国口音时,血流增加到颞叶,颞叶是我们用来处理声音的大脑的一部分。

佩尔表示,受试者似乎必须更深入地分析,或者更长一段时间来决定,他们是否真正相信说话人。这项研究发表在影像学杂志上。

当研究人员问受试者时,他们说,除非语气自信,否则他们不信任澳大利亚或法语口音。听起来,自信确实很能说明问题。

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