New research suggests that deep male voices have a smaller effect on attracting females, but they are perceived as dominant by potential rivals.
Deep male voices are not meant to attract women, but rather to dominate the potential competitors. So, you may like the deep and booming voices of Benedict Cumberbatch or George Clooney, but they have nothing to do with drawing women at least according to a recent study.
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In the study, researchers attempted to find a link between voice pitch and mating preferences. They found that deep-pitched male voice was seen dominating by other males but it had a smaller impact on attracting females.
“We wanted to determine if sexual selection had produced sex differences in humans and closely related species,” said David A. Puts from Penn State University. “If similar vocal sex differences appear across species with similar level of mating completion, then we infer that sexual selection produced these sex differences.”
Researchers first looked at the fundamental frequency of male voices in humans and primates including gorilla, chimpanzee and orangutans. They recorded 1,721 vocal voices and found that the average difference in pitch between male and female voices was greater in humans than in most of other primates.
Then researchers involved 258 female and 175 male college students and asked them to read a standard passage and recorded it without any background noise. After that, researchers asked 558 women and 568 men to rate those recorded voices. The female voices were rated by 15 men on the basis of its romantic attractiveness using standard rating system while each male recording was rated by 15 men for dominance and 15 women for long and short term romantic attractiveness.
Researchers found that deep voices were perceived as intimidating by other males while they were not precisely considered attractive by women.
“We find that masculine traits in humans are not the same as, say, in peacocks where the beautiful tail attracts a mate,” said Puts. “For example, beards make men more dominant looking, scarier and seemingly more dangerous, but most women prefer clean shaven men.”
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Masculine traits reflect physical strength and aggression and seem to provide more advantage in competition for dominating or threatening other men rather than attracting women.