Speaking slowly makes people sound more intelligent, research finds.
Also, women have no trouble changing their voice to make it sound more sexy, but men have no clue.
Women lower the pitch of their voice and make it sound more breathy — which men find more attractive.
To sound more attractive, both sexes also speak slower, the authors write:
“…both sexes in our sample slowed their speech in comparison to their normal speech when trying to sound attractive/sexy…[…]
Perhaps the slowing of one’s voice in a mating scenario is an attempt to convey approachability, as decreased speaking rate was found to increase the benevolence ratings of a speaker.”
Women, though, when they listened to men trying to sound sexy, were not convinced.
When women tried to sound sexier, it was more convincing.
Dr Susan Hughes, the study’s first author, said:
“This ability may be due to culture and cuts across cultures and time.
There is a stereotype of what is a sexual voice in our culture — a low, breathy voice.”
The study had people trying to intentionally change their voices to embody different traits.
They tried to sound more sexy, confident, intelligent and dominant.
Dr Hughes said men found it difficult to sound sexy:
“In fact, although not significantly, it got a bit worse when men tried to sound sexy.”
Both sexes, though, had no problem sounding more intelligent and more dominant.
The researchers explained the changes people made:
“…both sexes slowed their speech and women lowered their pitch and had greater vocal hoarseness.
Both sexes raised their pitch and spoke louder to sound dominant and women had less vocal hoarseness.”
Women, though, found it hard to sound more confident.
The reason for the differences could be down to practice, the researchers think.
Men do not really focus on making their voice sound sexier, but women do.
The study was published in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (Hughes et al., 2014).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Voice image from Shutterstock