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Saturday, October 12 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(J4) Levon et al.: Accent bias and judgments of professional competence: A comparison of laypeople and trained recruiters

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Accent bias and judgments of professional competence: A comparison of laypeople and trained recruiters

We investigate current perceptions of accent variation in England, comparing the perceptions of the general public to those of professional law firm recruiters, in order to examine the role that accent bias plays in obstructing social mobility in Britain. We first conducted a nationwide verbal guise test with a representative sample of the English population (N=848). Results demonstrate strong effects of age and listener region on evaluations of accents, though these are mitigated by individual respondents’ motivations to control a prejudiced response. We compare these results to a similar study among 60 professional recruiters in large corporate law firms. Analyses demonstrate that law firm respondents behave unlike the general public, showing a high capacity to focus on response quality and disregard accent. Together, our results show persistent patterns of bias against working class and ethnically-marked accents in England, but also that such bias can be mitigated in specific professional contexts.

Speakers
avatar for Erez Levon

Erez Levon

Queen Mary University of London
DS

Devyani Sharma

Queen Mary University of London
YY

Yang Ye

Queen Mary University of London
DW

Dominic Watt

University of York


Saturday October 12, 2019 3:40pm - 5:30pm
EMU Ballroom


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