How accent and gender influence perceptions of competence and warmth in the medical profession
Keywords:stereotype content model, (non)standard accents, gender, doctors, nurses
Previous research has shown that we evaluate social categories differently based on the two fundamental dimensions of competence and warmth. Findings indicate that doctors, men and standard accents are perceived as more competent, while nurses, women and regional accents are perceived as warmer. In a short experiment manipulating gender (man; woman), occupation (doctor; nurse) and accent (Standard British English; regional accent), participants rated the targets on perceived competence, warmth and status. The main results showed that doctors were rated as more competent providing they spoke using Standard British English, and warmer, as long as they spoke with a regional accent. This poses a potential problem, as doctors need to be perceived as competent in their diagnoses and treatment decisions, but also warm in their communication of important and sensitive information. The implications of these findings are discussed in order to highlight the importance of using multiple social categories to represent the complexity of everyday interactions.
Bourhis, R. Y. and Giles, H. (1976) The effects of a speaker’s race upon person perception: an addendum. Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied 92(1): 71–6. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980.1976.9921336
Burgoon, J. K. and Burgoon, M. (2001) Expectancy theories. In W. P. Robinson and H. Giles (eds) The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology (2nd edn) 79–102. Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons.
Carpenter, J. (1995) Doctors and nurses: stereotypes and stereotype change in interprofessional education. Journal of Interprofessional Care 9(2): 151–61. https://doi.org/10.3109/13561829509047849
Castelli, L., Zogmaister, C., Smith, E. R. and Arcuri, L. (2004) On the automatic evaluation of social exemplars. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86(3): 373–87. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993
Crisp, R. J. and Hewstone, M. (2007) Multiple social categorization. In M. P. Zanna (ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 39 163–254. San Diego, CA, US: Elsevier Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(06)39004-1
Cuddy, A. J. C., Fiske, S. T. and Glick, P. (2008) Competence and warmth as universal trait dimensions of interpersonal and intergroup perceptions: the stereotype content model and the BIAS map. In M. P. Zanna (ed.) Advances in Experimental Psychology, Volume 40 61–149. New York: Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(07)00002-0
Dion, K., Berscheid, E. and Walster, E. (1972) What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 24(3); 285–90. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0033731
Fasoli, F., Maass, A., Paladino, M. P. and Sulpizio, S. (2017) Gay-and lesbian-sounding auditory cues elicit stereotyping and discrimination. Archives of Sexual Behavior 46(5): 1261–77. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-0962-0
Fiske, S. T. and Neuberg, S. L. (1990) A continuum of impression formation, form category based to individuating processes: influence of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M. P. Zanna (ed.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 23 1–74. San Diego: Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60317-2
Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., Glick, P. and Xu, J. (2002) A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82(6): 878–902. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-35188.8.131.528
Floccia, C., Butler, J., Girard, F. and Goslin, J. (2009) Categorization of regional and foreign accent in 5- to 7-year-old British children. International Journal of Behavioral Development 33(4): 366–375. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025409103871
Fuertes, J. N., Gottdiener, W., Martin, H., Gilbert, T. C. and Giles, H. (2012) A meta-analysis of speakers’ accents on interpersonal evaluations. European Journal of Social Psychology 42(1): 120–33. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.862
Garrett, P. (2010) Attitudes to Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Giles, H. (1970) Evaluative reactions to accents. Educational Review 22(3): 211. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013191700220301
Giles, H. (2012) The Handbook of Intergroup Communication. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203148624
Giles, H. and Johnson, P. (1981) The role of language in ethnic group relations. In J. C. Turner and H. Giles (eds) Intergroup Behavior 199–243. Oxford: Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl.1987.68.69
Giles, H. and Johnson, P. (1987) Ethnolinguistic identity theory: a social psychological approach to language maintenance. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 68: 69–99.
Giles, H. and Raki?, T. (2014) Language attitudes: the social determinants and consequences of language variation. In T. Holtgraves (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Language and Social Psychology 11–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Giles, H., Henwood, K., Coupland, N. and Harriman, J. (1992) Language attitudes and cognitive mediation. Human Communication Research 18(4): 500–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1992.tb00570.x
Goff, P. A., Thomas, M. A. and Jackson, M. C. (2008) ‘Ain’t I a woman?’: towards an intersectional approach to person perception and group-based harms. Sex Roles 59(5–6): 392–403. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9505-4
Gong, Z. H. and Bucy, E. P. (2016) When style obscures substance: visual attention to display appropriateness in the 2012 presidential debates. Communication Monographs 83(3): 349–72. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2015.1119868
Grondelaers, S., van Hout, R. and Steegs, M. (2010) Evaluating regional accent variation in standard Dutch. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 29(1): 101–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X09351681
Hansen, K. and Dovidio, J. F. (2016) Social dominance orientation, nonnative accents, and hiring recommendations. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 22(4): 544. https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000101
Hansen, K., Raki?, T. and Steffens, M. C. (2017) Competent and warm? How mismatching appearance and accent influence first impressions. Experimental Psychology 64(1): 27–36. https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000348
Hansen, K., Steffens, M. C., Raki?, T. and Wiese, H. (2017) When appearance does not match accent: neural correlates of ethnicity-related expectancy violations. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 12(3): 507–15. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsw148
Hesselbart, S. (1977) Women doctors win and male nurses lose: a study of sex role and occupational stereotypes. Sociology of Work and Occupations 4(1): 49–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/009392857741003
Kinzler, K. D., Shutts, K., DeJesus, J. and Spelke, E. S. (2009) Accent trumps race in guiding children’s social preferences. Social Cognition 27(4): 623–34. https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2009.27.4.623
Ko, S. J., Judd, C. M. and Blair, I. V. (2006) What the voice reveals: within- and between-category stereotyping on the basis of voice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 32(6): 806–19.
Lambert, W. E., Anisfeld, M. and Yeni-Komshian, G. (1965) Evaluation reactions of Jewish and Arab adolescents to dialect and language variations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2(1): 84–90. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0022088
Lippi-Green, R. (1997) English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States. London, New York: Routledge.
Mulac, A. (1975) Evaluation of the speech dialect attitudinal scale. Speech Monographs 42: 184–9. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637757509375893
Raki?, T. and Steffens, M. C. (2013) Language attitudes in Western Europe. In H. Giles and B. M. Watson (eds) The Social Meanings of Language, Dialect, and Accent 45–64. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
Raki?, T., Steffens, M. C. and Mummendey, A. (2011a) Blinded by the accent! The minor role of looks in ethnic categorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100(1): 16–29. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021522
Raki?, T., Steffens, M. C. and Mummendey, A. (2011b) When it matters how you pronounce it: the influence of regional accents on job interview outcome. British Journal of Psychology 102(4): 868–83. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02051.x
Zuckerman, M. and Driver, R. E. (1989) What sounds beautiful is good: the vocal attractiveness stereotype. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 13(2): 67–82. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00990791
Zuckerman, M., Miyake, K. and Hodgins, H. S. (1991) Cross-channel effects of vocal and physical attractiveness and their implications for interpersonal perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 60(4): 545–54. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2065
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.