A man with a deeper voice and a woman with a higher voice are more likely to cheat on their partner, research finds.
Voice pitch is linked to levels of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen.
People naturally find men with deeper voices and women with higher voices more attractive.
However, they also seem to be naturally aware that they could be markers of trouble down the line.
Dr Jillian O’Connor, the study’s first author, said:
“In terms of sexual strategy, we found that men and women will use voice pitch as a warning sign of future betrayal.
So the more attractive the voice — a higher pitch for women and lower pitch for men — the more likely the chances he or she will cheat.”
In the study people listened to recordings of male and female voices that were manipulated to be higher and lower in pitch.
They were asked which one was most likely to cheat on their partner.
Both men and women thought that lowered male voices and raised women’s voices suggested the person would be more likely to cheat.
Dr O’Connor said:
“Infidelity is costly with the emotional impact, financial costs and potential loss of the family unit.
But this suggests that through the evolutionary process, we have learned ways to avoid partners who may be unfaithful as a protection mechanism.”
Dr David Feinberg, study co-author, said:
“The reason voice pitch influences perceptions of cheating is likely due to the relationship between pitch, hormones and infidelity.
Men with higher testosterone levels have lower pitched voices, and women with higher estrogen levels have higher pitched voices.
High levels of these hormones are associated with adulterous behaviour and our findings indicate individuals are somewhat aware of the link and may use this in their search for a romantic partner.”
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
The study was published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology (O’Connor et al., 2011).