Studies investigating perception of a child’s gender have found that adults can identify the gender of young children accurately before developmental changes in vocal fold size and vocal tract length provide reliable acoustic cues, including fundamental frequency (f0) and formant frequencies. This suggests that judgments about gender in boys’ and girls’ voices may also be influenced by sociocultural and behavioral factors that shape children’s production patterns. We tested whether gender identification in children can be influenced by regional dialect of American English. 26 adults from Central Ohio listened to 620 speech stimuli (comprised of isolated words, read sentences, and spontaneous talks) from 90 children ages 8-11 years representing three dialect regions in the United States (Central Ohio, Southeastern Wisconsin, and Western North Carolina). As predicted, gender was identified more accurately from sentences and spontaneous talk samples than from isolated words. Significant dialect effects were found, but they were manifested differently for younger and older children, and differently as a function of stimulus type. Overall, the results suggest that variations between regional dialects can provide additional cues to gender identification in children’s voices, but these effects are variable and depend on a child’s age, listening context, and dialect of a listener.

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