The Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania performed a study on the voices of students when talking to a person they found attractive. The students used Skype and were supposed to talk how they would in a normal encounter with someone.
To much surprise, it was found that both males and females speak in a lower voice when flirting with someone. One would think that with today’s stereotypes that a man would speak lower and a woman would speak in a higher, ditsier voice to attractive a potential suitor.
This was also surprising to Hughes, who was in charge of the study. Hughes said that “we found both sexes used a lower-pitch voice and showed a higher level of physiological arousal when speaking to a more attractive opposite-sex target”.
The findings of this study conflict with the idea that many women use their best Southern Bell impression when trying to talk to a man that sparks their interest. The college cult classics had it wrong when the stereotypically portrayed cheerleaders would talk in a high voice when speaking to the jocks. In reality, these young women should have been talking a bit lower than they usually would.
Also suggested in the study is the idea that a female changing her voice when talking to an attractive opposite sex member is probably a learned behavior.
But it would seem that if movies and T.V. shows have been emanating this idea of a high female voice being flirtatious that women would instead learn to speak in higher registries rather than lower ones. Let’s give women some credit, though, and assume that they watched these shows growing up and learned to behave completely opposite of the cheerleader figure on these programs.
Either way, this study brings about some new information that can be helpful to anyone looking for a potential partner. If a girl (or guy) speaks to you in a lower voice than they do with someone they have a platonic friendship with, this just might indicate that they find you attractive.
This research has been published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior.
Do you lower your voice when you talk to attractive members of the opposite sex? Comment below and tell us your experiences.