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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

LingLunch | Zoe Adams (QMUL)

1 March 2018

Time: 2:00 - 3:00pm
Venue: Bancroft G07

The persuasive effects of British accents in improving children's oral health campaigns

Zoe Adams

Queen Mary University of London


In this talk, I will be discussing the persuasive effects of 6 British accents among 34 parents in Newham. The study builds on a nationwide clinical trial (Pine et al., 2016), which uses children’s cartoons to increase parental confidence in managing their child’s oral health behaviours. It draws on Gawronski and Bodenhausen’s (2006) Associative-Propositional Evaluative model, which explains the consistency between associations in memory (implicit attitudes), and the acceptance or rejection of these associations (explicit attitudes). I will discuss 3 tasks from Experiment 1: (1) An accent identification task, which required participants to state the origin of the speaker for each accent (2) An implicit attitude task, which involved answering a series of trivia statements in these accents as quickly as possible, and then answering the same statements in written form. These two sets of answers were then compared to examine how accent changed one’s mind (3) An explicit attitude task comprising two matched-guise tests (neutral and oral health context). These three tasks demonstrate that societal norms and life experiences influence our implicit and explicit attitudes to British accents. However, the perceived controversy of the accent affects whether or not these attitudes are consistent. This has theoretical and methodological implications for the study of language attitudes in sociolinguistics, and can inform the effectiveness of public health interventions.