Folium: Humans ‘subconsciously mimic accents’ via The Telegraph

Folium: Humans 'subconsciously mimic accents' via The Telegraph

Folium: Humans ‘subconsciously mimic accents’ via The Telegraph

Folium: Humans ‘subconsciously mimic accents’ via The Telegraph
Image via Wikimedia Commons

My wife and I have a good deal of family down in the southern states (in an undisclosed location, but needless to say it’s definitely “south”). From time to time we’ll chat with the locals, shop at WalMart, and generally wander around. As we acclimate to our surroundings, my wife will nudge me. She says I develop a twang, similar to those that we speak with on a daily basis. Vowels become elongated, consonants will change stress, and lexicon adapts to local vocabulary.

Most of the time I never even notice, and I guess after years of language study the whole experience of evolving conversation and communication practices becomes second nature.

Therefore, having scientific evidence to support my evolving southern “twang” makes me feel at least a little better. Or least I’m happy that I can cite sources when my wife accuses me of making fun of funny accents.

American researchers have found human brains imitate the speech patterns of other people, even complete strangers, without meaning to.

They say a humans want to “bond” with others, even when a voice cannot be heard or, somewhat embarrassingly, even if another person is a foreigner.

Scientists from the University of California, Riverside, found the subconscious copying of an accent comes from an inbuilt urge of the brain to “empathise and affiliate”. – The Telegraph

However, there’s still no excuse for this guy …

Come to find out that it’s an empathetic process, engaged in order to close the gap between our communication partner and ourselves. It’s a cool read that makes us a little more aware of just how involved our senses become in the communication experience.

Have you ever experienced a change on your own “accent” when you talk with others?

Or perhaps you’ve heard a friend change accents with different people?

Why would adapting an accent facilitate the communication process between strangers?


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