Toronto Metropolitan University
23-Rovetti_Sumantry_Russo.pdf (1.76 MB)

Exposure to nonnative‑accented speech reduces listening effort and improves social judgments of the speaker

Download (1.76 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-21, 18:40 authored by Joseph Rovetti, David Sumantry, Frank RussoFrank Russo

Prior research has revealed a native-accent advantage, whereby nonnative-accented speech is more difficult to process than native-accented speech. Nonnative-accented speakers also experience more negative social judgments. In the current study, we asked three questions. First, does exposure to nonnative-accented speech increase speech intelligibility or decrease listening effort, thereby narrowing the native-accent advantage? Second, does lower intelligibility or higher listening effort contribute to listeners’ negative social judgments of speakers? Third and finally, does increased intelligibility or decreased listening effort with exposure to speech bring about more positive social judgments of speakers? To address these questions, normal-hearing adults listened to a block of English sentences with a native accent and a block with nonnative accent. We found that once participants were accustomed to the task, intelligibility was greater for nonnative-accented speech and increased similarly with exposure for both accents. However, listening effort decreased only for nonnative-accented speech, soon reaching the level of native-accented speech. In addition, lower intelligibility and higher listening effort was associated with lower ratings of speaker warmth, speaker competence, and willingness to interact with the speaker. Finally, competence ratings increased over time to a similar extent for both accents, with this relationship fully mediated by intelligibility and listening effort. These results offer insight into how listeners process and judge unfamiliar speakers.




Usage metrics




    Ref. manager