Why being called "Davy" is a bad idea: sound symbolism and the perception of social dominance

Cottrell, David, Broadhurst, Solveigh, and Brooks, Anna (2016) Why being called "Davy" is a bad idea: sound symbolism and the perception of social dominance. In: [Presented at the Australian Experimental Psychology Conference]. From: EPC 2016: Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, 30 March - 2 April 2016, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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We all have a name. However, the consequences of a name go beyond simply identifying individuals. Names can bias social interactions in both occupational and informal settings. One factor which has been shown to be correlated with employment outcomes is the pronunciation of a name. Names ending in /i/ (e.g. Davy) are under represented in management roles compared to other names. What is unclear is whether the sound of the name biases the perception of a person or whether biases result from generalising past experiences with people with such names. This study investigated the effect of novel names varying only in the sound of the last phoneme on the appraisal of one important social characteristic: dominance. Over two training phases participants learned the nonsense names of computer-generted male and female faces. All the faces were then presented in pairs and participants were asked to indicate the more dominant face. Female faces previously paired with a name ending in /i/ were selected as dominant significantly less often than other faces. No significant effect was found for males. These findings indicate that females might be more vulnerable to name biases resulting from simple phonological properties of their name.

Item ID: 43572
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: sound symbolism, social dominance, facial dominance
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 04:10
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance @ 70%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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