The association between dialect and perceived personality traits has been studied for a number of years. The purpose of this study was to examine how the dialect, the gender of both the speaker and the listener, and the perceived age of the speaker affected the listeners' perception of the speaker's personality. The spontaneous speech samples were drawn from existing corpora. There were 48 speakers, 24 New Zealanders and 24 Utahns. Each dialect group was stratified into three age groups (young, middle, older), and within each age group there were an equal number of males and females. The listener group included 40 adults aged 18-30, 20 females and 20 males. The listeners used a computerized visual analog scale to rate the samples on four personality traits: credibility, confidence, prestige, and pleasantness. They also estimated the age of each speaker. Statistical analysis demonstrated that there were several significant differences in how listeners rated the speakers. Main effects of speaker dialect, speaker age, and speaker and listener gender were observed in age estimation as well as personality perception. The results suggest that listeners' perceptions of personality traits are influenced by the speaker's age, dialect, and gender. Additionally, male and female listeners differed significantly on several measures. The findings of this study demonstrate that speaker dialect and listener gender can influence listener perceptions.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





personality traits, dialect, age perception, gender