Why don't we believe native speakers?

Why don’t we believe non-native speakers and how can exposure to foreign accents reduce this bias?

2:00pm - 3:00pm / Wednesday 4th May 2022
Type: Seminar / Category: Department / Series: Centre of Teaching Excellence for Language Learning
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Speaker: Dr Shiri-Lev Ari, Royal Holloway University of London

When something is harder to process, people judge it more negatively, and even believe it less. In this talk, I will show that this tendency leads people to believe information less when it is said with a foreign accent, simply because it is harder to process. I will further show how this implicit negative bias can be reduced with exposure to foreign accent. Lastly, I will show how interacting with a more diverse group of people has wider benefits and can improve individuals’ communication skills in general.

Dr. Lev-Ari is a lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Chicago and was previously a post-doc at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique in Paris, and a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Dr. Lev-Ari is interested in how the social environment influences language processing, and how the way we process language, in turn, influences the social environment. She investigates this topic using a combination of individual differences studies, experimental paradigms, and computational simulations.

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