The influence of /s/ quality on ratings of men's sexual orientation: Explicit and implicit measures of the 'gay lisp' stereotype

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two experiments examined whether listeners associate frontally normal and misarticulated /s/ with gay-sounding voices, as is suggested by the popular culture stereotype that gay men "lisp". The first experiment showed that talkers were rated as younger-sounding and gayer-sounding when their speech included tokens with non-canonical variants of /s/ (i.e., a frontally misarticulated token of /s/, a dentalized /s/, or an /s/ produced with an especially high-frequency, compact spectrum). The second experiment showed that listeners recognize voices more quickly when they contain canonical /s/ variants than when they contain non-canonical /s/. Critically, these patterns were robust across different priming conditions in which listeners were presented with either a gay- or a heterosexual-sounding talker prior to the voice-recognition task. Together, these findings confirm experimentally that listeners make the association between non-canonical /s/ variants and male sexual orientation when asked to do so explicitly. However, though gay-sounding voices elicit longer reaction times in a voice-recognition task, we found no evidence that stereotypes about sexual orientation and /s/ production affect implicit processing of talkers' voices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-212
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Fingerprint

sexual orientation
listener
Sexual Behavior
stereotype
rating
experiment
popular culture
Heterosexuality
Reaction Time
Sexual Minorities
Implicit Measures
Stereotypes
Sexual Orientation
Rating
evidence
Listeners
Talkers
Experiment

Cite this

@article{d7fcdba8cfe047269824e4e24bd6ab8b,
title = "The influence of /s/ quality on ratings of men's sexual orientation: Explicit and implicit measures of the 'gay lisp' stereotype",
abstract = "Two experiments examined whether listeners associate frontally normal and misarticulated /s/ with gay-sounding voices, as is suggested by the popular culture stereotype that gay men {"}lisp{"}. The first experiment showed that talkers were rated as younger-sounding and gayer-sounding when their speech included tokens with non-canonical variants of /s/ (i.e., a frontally misarticulated token of /s/, a dentalized /s/, or an /s/ produced with an especially high-frequency, compact spectrum). The second experiment showed that listeners recognize voices more quickly when they contain canonical /s/ variants than when they contain non-canonical /s/. Critically, these patterns were robust across different priming conditions in which listeners were presented with either a gay- or a heterosexual-sounding talker prior to the voice-recognition task. Together, these findings confirm experimentally that listeners make the association between non-canonical /s/ variants and male sexual orientation when asked to do so explicitly. However, though gay-sounding voices elicit longer reaction times in a voice-recognition task, we found no evidence that stereotypes about sexual orientation and /s/ production affect implicit processing of talkers' voices.",
author = "Sara Mack and Benjamin Munson",
year = "2012",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.wocn.2011.10.002",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "40",
pages = "198--212",
journal = "Journal of Phonetics",
issn = "0095-4470",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The influence of /s/ quality on ratings of men's sexual orientation

T2 - Explicit and implicit measures of the 'gay lisp' stereotype

AU - Mack, Sara

AU - Munson, Benjamin

PY - 2012/2/1

Y1 - 2012/2/1

N2 - Two experiments examined whether listeners associate frontally normal and misarticulated /s/ with gay-sounding voices, as is suggested by the popular culture stereotype that gay men "lisp". The first experiment showed that talkers were rated as younger-sounding and gayer-sounding when their speech included tokens with non-canonical variants of /s/ (i.e., a frontally misarticulated token of /s/, a dentalized /s/, or an /s/ produced with an especially high-frequency, compact spectrum). The second experiment showed that listeners recognize voices more quickly when they contain canonical /s/ variants than when they contain non-canonical /s/. Critically, these patterns were robust across different priming conditions in which listeners were presented with either a gay- or a heterosexual-sounding talker prior to the voice-recognition task. Together, these findings confirm experimentally that listeners make the association between non-canonical /s/ variants and male sexual orientation when asked to do so explicitly. However, though gay-sounding voices elicit longer reaction times in a voice-recognition task, we found no evidence that stereotypes about sexual orientation and /s/ production affect implicit processing of talkers' voices.

AB - Two experiments examined whether listeners associate frontally normal and misarticulated /s/ with gay-sounding voices, as is suggested by the popular culture stereotype that gay men "lisp". The first experiment showed that talkers were rated as younger-sounding and gayer-sounding when their speech included tokens with non-canonical variants of /s/ (i.e., a frontally misarticulated token of /s/, a dentalized /s/, or an /s/ produced with an especially high-frequency, compact spectrum). The second experiment showed that listeners recognize voices more quickly when they contain canonical /s/ variants than when they contain non-canonical /s/. Critically, these patterns were robust across different priming conditions in which listeners were presented with either a gay- or a heterosexual-sounding talker prior to the voice-recognition task. Together, these findings confirm experimentally that listeners make the association between non-canonical /s/ variants and male sexual orientation when asked to do so explicitly. However, though gay-sounding voices elicit longer reaction times in a voice-recognition task, we found no evidence that stereotypes about sexual orientation and /s/ production affect implicit processing of talkers' voices.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84455208260&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84455208260&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.wocn.2011.10.002

DO - 10.1016/j.wocn.2011.10.002

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84455208260

VL - 40

SP - 198

EP - 212

JO - Journal of Phonetics

JF - Journal of Phonetics

SN - 0095-4470

IS - 1

ER -