This study examined how foreign accents affect memory. Two experiments were conducted to investigate false and veridical memory with lists of phonologically related native-accented and Spanish-accented English words. Experiment 1 used a modified Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm in which participants were auditorily presented eight lists of native and eight lists of accented words and were later tested for their memory of those words using visual presentation. For items that participants identified as previously presented (called "old”), they had to indicate whether the words were spoken with a native or foreign accent. False memory was found in both native and accented condition. Participants were also more accurate in correctly recognizing a studied word as “old” when it was native than when it was accented. However, this result might be contributed by participants misperceiving the accented words during the study phase. For the “old” items, participants were significantly more likely to correctly identify the accent of the speaker when the word was spoken by a native speaker than an accented speaker. Experiment 2 aimed to rule out the misperception of accented words through a simultaneous visual display of the word during the study phase. Without recognition difficulty of accented words, participants in Experiment 2 showed similar performance in correct recognition of native and accented studied words as “old”. Overall findings suggest that people have weaker memory for accented words than native words possibly due to recognition difficulty induced by foreign accent. Representations of voice (accent) information in memory also tend to be poor for foreign-accented words.


Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Danielle M. Savastano, Anthony R. Crossley, Anna K. Gangsaas, Cara S. McQuaid

Department: Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kit Ying Chan

Type: Poster

Year: 2016

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