The way you talk is what matters!

Experts always thought visual clues took over when we categorised unknown people. Not any more.Now, a team at Friedrich Schiller University of Jena in Germany has found accents and language provide information about temperament, age, state of mind and ethnic background, the 'Daily Express' reported.

In the study, participants were shown photographs of German and Italian-looking people, together with written statements from them. The subjects subsequently had to assign statements to those they thought had made them.

As with earlier findings, mix-ups were common within the groups, but not across them. So statements by German- looking people were not wrongly assigned to Italian-looking subjects or vice versa.

But when accents were added, some German-looking people spoke with standard German accents and others with an Italian accent. A similar thing happened with Italian-looking people, the findings revealed.

Looks, which came into the equation in the first experiment -- with no other information provided -- were no longer relevant.

Lead researcher Dr Tamara Rakic said this proved the huge importance of language in ethnic categorisation. It also accorded with the assumption that accent-free language plays a critical role in social integration.

Dr Rakic said: "The accent is much more important than the way a person looks. Results indicated the participants orientated themselves nearly exclusively on the spoken accent while categorising people."

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