- People who speak in a lower pitch more appealing for long-term relationships
- Men with low voices are also seen as more formidable among other men
From Miley Cyrus to Morgan Freeman, many of the most famous celebrities in the world are known for their deep voices.
Now, a study suggests that people who speak in a lower pitch are more appealing for long-term relationships.
What’s more, men with low voices are seen as more formidable and prestigious among other men, according to the team from Penn State University.
‘A low voice pitch exaggerates size,’ said Professor David Puts, co-author of the study.
‘It makes an organism, whether it’s a person or non-human primate, seem big and intimidating.’
From Miley Cyrus to Morgan Freeman, many of the most famous celebrities in the world are known for their deep voices. Now, a study suggests that their dulcet tones may also make these stars seem more appealing for long-term relationships
Vocal communication is known to be one of the most important human characteristics.
And while our accents and tones all vary hugely, it’s pitch that is the most noticeable aspect of voice, according to Professor Puts.
‘Understanding how voice pitch influences social perceptions can help us understand social relationships more broadly, how we attain social status, how we evaluate others on social status and how we choose mates,’ he explained.
In their study, the researchers selected two male and two female voice recordings, all repeating the same sentence.
The pitch in each clip was then edited, until a total of 12 clips was created.
These clips were played to more than 3,100 participants across 22 countries, who were asked to answer questions about which voice sounded most attractive, flirtatious, formidable, and prestigious.
The results revealed that male and female participants from across cultures all preferred lower-pitched voices for a long-term relationship.
Meanwhile, the lower male voices were rated as more formidable and prestigious.
In contrast, the researchers found that women with high-pitched voices were rated as more attractive for short-term relationships (stock image)
‘The findings suggest that deep voices evolved in males because our male ancestors frequently interacted with competitors who were strangers,’ Professor Puts said.
‘Male traits such as deep voices and beards are highly socially salient, but this new research shows that the salience of at least one of these traits varies in predictable ways across societies, and it suggests that others, such as beards, do too.’
In contrast, the researchers found that women with high-pitched voices were rated as more attractive for short-term relationships.
Overall, the researchers say the findings suggest that voice pitch is relevant to social perceptions across societies.
‘It also shows that the extent of our attention to voice pitch when making social attributions is variable across societies and responsive to relevant sociocultural variable,’ Professor Puts added.
‘In a society where there’s higher relational mobility and you have less direct information about your competitors, people appear to be more attentive to an easily identifiable, recognizable signal like voice pitch.’