The effect of self-disclosure on accented speech : a pilot study



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Research has indicated negative perceptions of adults with foreign accented speech. These views have implications relative to employment of person’s with foreign accented speech. Considering present immigration patterns to the United States, the need for fully intelligible speech will impact the lives of persons who wish to be employed and integrate within US culture. Previous research has indicated that the use of self-disclosure statements may be beneficial in improving listener’s perceptions of a speaker who stutters. The goal of this study was to explore the potential benefits of use this strategy among persons with foreign accented speech. Such information could improve treatment delivery in accent modification, a practice within the scope of Speech-Language Pathology. Additionally, the technique of self-disclosure could improve employment outcomes for non-native English speaking individuals. Research goals were explored by exposing participants to two of four videos of foreign accented speakers (a male who self-discloses, a male who does not self-disclose, a female who self-discloses, and a female who does not self-disclose). Directly after viewing the videos, listener participants completed a survey probing for perceptions of the speaker, information about their experience with and knowledge of accents, and allowing for additional comments on the speakers’ communication to be reported. Results for positive effects of self-disclosure achieved significance for the trait of viewer felt more distracted and negative effects of self-disclosure achieved significance for the trait of more outgoing. In regards to these results, the use of self-disclosure may actually be viewed negatively by listeners of the population in this study. In summary, results from the current pilot study indicate that self-disclosure does not have a significant effect on increasing positive perception of accented speech. Further research on self-disclosure and accented speech in more diverse speaker cohorts with diverse types of listener participants is needed.