Vocal Indicators of Status: Effects of Caste and Language

R. Barry Ruback, V. Kalpana Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Male students in a university in South India were placed in dyads in which both members were either Upper Caste or Scheduled Caste, or one was Upper Caste and the other was Scheduled Caste. In each of the 27 dyads, the students carried on two unstructured conversations, 10 minutes in English and 10 minutes in Telugu, in a counterbalanced order across dyads. The conversations were recorded and converted into objective codes (e.g., turn, vocalisation, pause) using the group AVTA system of Dabbs and Swiedler (1983). Students' conversations, self-ratings, and the ratings of their partners appeared to be affected by both their own status and the status of their partners. Two independent bilingual judges, who were not aware of the condition, rated Upper Caste speakers in mixed-caste dyads more dominant in English but not in Telugu conversation. However, vocal measures indicated that Upper Caste students were able to control the conversations through silence, as well as through talking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology & Developing Societies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vocal Indicators of Status: Effects of Caste and Language'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this