If you’ve ever wondered if someone is attracted to you, try listening to his or her voice.
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A recent study found that men and women vary the strength, tone and pitch of their voices when speaking to members of the opposite sex whom they find attractive.
At the same time, these subtle voice modulations make the speaker seem more attractive to the person who the speaker is addressing, the study says.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool in England teamed with researchers from the University of Stirling in Scotland to study the vocal ranges of more than 100 men and women in courtship scenarios.
They made video and audio recordings of the vocal patterns of men and women as they talked to people they perceived as attractive. Then they compared those to recorded conversations the men and women had with people they perceived as unattractive.
The sound of attraction
When the men were talking to women they found attractive, the researchers found the men tended to speak in a more variable tone. Their voices had a rising and falling inflection that sounded sing-songy.
In addition, when the men spoke to women they consider less attractive, their voices were not quite as deep as when they spoke to women they considered attractive.
The researchers’ findings also showed that people who merely overhear conversations respond to these subtle differences too.
When the voice recording of a man speaking to an attractive woman was played to female listeners, the listeners found the voice more attractive than a recording of the same man speaking to a less-attractive woman.
Because the men whose voices were recorded were Czech and the female listeners were British, the researcher say this indicates the male speakers’ attractiveness was due to their subtle voice changes, rather than what they were saying.
The sound of your voice plays a role in courtship, says clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD. Dr. Bea did not take part in the study.
“When guys talk in the lower register, that’s how they can draw the attention and attraction of a female partner,” Dr. Bea says. “For men, the higher their voice goes, the less attractive that is to women.”
Dr. Bea says if you’re a man trying to impress a pretty woman, try above all to maintain your composure. That will help you to keep your voice low – and, as a result, increase your attractiveness.
“In instances where people are too struck with what’s going on inside them, rather than outside them, their voice may modulate up as part of an anxiety response, in which case they may become a less-attractive partner,” Dr. Bea says.
Complete findings for the study appear in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
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