The way you talk is what matters!

London: Move over, first appearances. It`s actually how you talk which most influences how unknown people judge you, says a new study.

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."