Accents are a real turn-off for Scottish listeners

London, Nov 19 (ANI): If you don't sound like the Scots, you are likely to turn them off as a new study has found that they dislike accents that don't sound like their own.

The research found that people's brains switched off when listening to non-native voices but were alert when hearing a Scottish accent.

The findings have suggested that Scottish people have an in-built, unconscious bias against outsiders.

A team from Glasgow and Edinburgh universities studied 20 Scots listening to recordings of nine female speakers-three American, three English, and three Scots-while brain activity was measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

The authors suspected that brain activity would decrease when listening to a Scottish accent as the participants could process the words spoken in their own accent more quickly and with less effort.

Instead, the scans showed a "huge increase" and when the volunteers listened repeatedly to an American or southern English accent, their brain activity gradually diminished.

That suggests that people were paying more attention to the voice of someone from their own group than from a different group.

The findings might also explain the growing popularity of Scottified sat-navs, which come complete with regional accents, such as TomTom's Billy Connolly voiced device.

"The pattern of neural activity differed strikingly in response to their own specific accent compared with other English accents. The initial results suggest such vocal samples somehow reflect group membership or social identity, so that 'in-group' voices are processed differently from the 'out-group'," the Scotsman quoted lead author Patricia Bestelmeyer, of Glasgow University, as saying.

The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2010, the congress of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. (ANI)

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