Foreign Accent Syndrome: in the ear of the beholder?
Di Dio, C.
Background: The identification of accent type in patients with acquired accent change following brain damage (Foreign Accent Syndrome; FAS), may vary depending on the judge. Aims: This experiment tests the accent identification abilities of nave judges listening to speech samples from FAS patients versus healthy controls. Method & Procedures: A total of 52 naive judges listened to speech samples from speakers of British English, which were presented over audio CD. They were asked to identify the accent type, but were blind as to the identity of the participants vis--vis FAS versus control, and foreign versus native UK. Accuracy, variability, and confidence ratings were assessed as a function of participant and of accent type. Outcomes & Results: The nave judges displayed greater accuracy, consistency, and confidence in typing the control versus the FAS accents. There was a positive familiarity effect for the control, but not the FAS accents. Conclusions: The data provide preliminary support for the view that FAS is not exclusively “in the ear of the beholder”.