Saturday, January 05, 2008

Do you like the sound of my voice?

no no.. not my voice, this was the question that anthropologist Coren Apicella asked to a set of people to get their response on the "attractiveness" of the voice.
Last summer, she flew halfway around the world with a tape recorder to study the Hadza people of Tanzania.

In the first phase of her research, Apicella invited a group of Hadza men into her Land Rover and recorded them saying "hello" in Swahili. Then she played some of the voices for a group of Hadza women, asking them which they preferred.

She found that women preferred deeper voices, while males preferred shriller voices. And there seemed to be some other interesting properties also.
The Hadza men with deeper voices also had more children than their squeaky counterparts. But she says voice alone probably doesn't explain that.

"Why there's this relationship, we're not entirely sure yet," Apicella said. "It could be that these men have greater access to mates. Maybe these men that have deeper voices have higher levels of testosterone. Or maybe they're better hunters and they're able to bring more food home to their wives."

Surprisingly enough, although the men liked shrill-voiced women, they also thought that the deeper-voiced women will be better food-gatherers.

But.. what does it all mean?
"I think this study does speak to the fact that voices are signaling some biologically relevant information to potential mates," Hughes said — information like fertility or the ability to put food on the table.

But Hughes, a professor at Albright College in Pennsylvania, says it's unclear if men and women in all cultures would share the preferences of the Hadza.

For listening to the voices, and also what the response of American women was to them, listen to the story :-).

So, what kind of voice do you find attractive?

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