numer 023
Czerwiec 2023

Can you make yourself sound more attractive?

Many nationalities recognize that there is a tone of voice that is instantly alluring, but do some speakers have an unfair advantage?
Two men standing back to each other on the blue background
How come some people sound more attractive than others?
People are talking by the tables.
Is that a voice pitch really important?
The French call it “voix de chambre à coucher”. It's a deep, sultry “bedroom voice”, that gives some speakers their powers of seduction. It's perfectly explainable too. Some people have objectively more attractive voices than others, and the fact that these rules are nearly universal reveals an important part of our evolutionary history.

Accents are one way we make assessments of other people. Speakers with attractive voices are thought of as competent, kind and trustworthy. This in turn produces a “halo effect” – where we see good people as more attractive. So, what makes some accents attractive?

There is a vocal trait that seems to work for everyone, no matter where they are from. “Whatever the culture, any woman coming from Japan or from the United States or from France or from anywhere in the world – they tend to prefer men with deep voices”, says Melissa Barkat-Defradas, a linguistics researcher at the University of Montpellier.

The sexual preference for men with deep voices has been recorded in indigenous peoples from the Amazon to Tanzania and countless other Western and non-Western examples. People associate deep voices with hunting abilities, career success and strength. We rate politicians with deeper voices as more serious and electable, regardless of sex. Male and female job candidates with lower-pitch voices are also more likely to be hired. If you want to get by as a competent speaker, it pays to go down an octave or two.

What does this apparently universal preference say about how we judge character? And are there exceptions to the rule?

The pitch of both men and women’s voices decrease through adolescence. But you can predict, with a high degree of accuracy, what pitch a man's voice will be throughout their lives based on what it was at the age of seven.

The infamous Elizabeth Holmes – the creator of Theranos - the analytics company responsible for bringing lab tests to the public which appeared fake, intentionally lowered her voice to achieve more attention, credibility and focus. All in all, the 9 billion dollars investment appeared to be a complete disaster and the depth of the CEO voice did not make a difference.
(Credits to: William Park and Michal Bialozej/BBC)
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