People with Essex and London accents sound the least intelligent, scientists say

BRITS with Essex or London accents sound the least intelligent, scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Essex studied attitudes towards accents among Brits aged 18 to 32 across the South East of England.

The Essex accent – much loved by fans of hit TV show TOWIE -sounds the least intelligent, a new survey has found

People with London accents – like EastEnders star Danny Dyer – were also deemed intelligent, the study found[/caption]

And talking like someone from EastEnders or Essex leads people to make unflattering assumptions, the report found.

Nearly 200 people were played ten-second clips of other young people reading the same sentence aloud.

People were asked to judge how friendly, intelligent and trustworthy the person sounded.

The recorded voices were all made by Dr Amanda Cole, a research fellow at the University of Essex’s Department of Language and Linguistics.


The survey showed people from Essex, London, or those who are working-class and or from an ethnic minority background, were judged less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy.

But people from South West London and most home counties were judged more positively.

Women were judged to be slightly less intelligent, but more friendly and trustworthy than men, based on their voices.

Dr Cole said: “When we hear someone talk we very quickly make judgements about them and group them into categories.

People from Essex and London were judged to be less intelligent than people from other areas

Dr Amanda Cole

“People from Essex and London were judged to be less intelligent than people from other areas.

“In addition, people who are working class (from across all of south east England) were judged to be less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than middle class people.

“And people from an ethnic minority were judged less intelligent than white people based only on their accent.”

The Essex accent was recently voted the sexiest in the UK.

Dr Amanda Cole from the University of Essex made recordings of 100 different accents[/caption]

But in 2019, the Birmingham accent was ranked the least sexiest in Britain.

Dr Cole’s study found people from Essex were judged 11 per cent less clever than people from South West London.

Among those surveyed, working class Brits were found to be 14 per cent less intelligent than upper middle class people.

Researchers found women were seen as 5 per cent more trustworthy and friendly than men, but 2 per cent less intelligent.

Dr Cole called for “diversity in accents” and said people shouldn’t have to “forsake their accent to get along better in life”.

She said: “We live in a vicious cycle in which the most privileged speak with the most esteemed accent – and so are judged as the most competent and intelligent which helps them maintain their privilege.

“This way of thinking is so pervasive that it goes completely unchallenged.”

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