Effects of Voice Pitch on Social Perceptions Vary With Relational Mobility and Homicide Rate

Toe Aung, Alexander K. Hill, Jessica K. Hlay, Catherine Hess, Michael Hess, Janie Johnson, Leslie Doll, Sara M. Carlson, Caroline Magdinec, Isaac G-Santoyo, Robert S. Walker, Drew Bailey, Steven Arnocky, Shanmukh Kamble, Tom Vardy, Thanos Kyritsis, Quentin Atkinson, Benedict Jones, Jessica Burns, Jeremy KosterGonzalo Palomo-Vélez, Joshua M. Tybur, José Muñoz-Reyes, Bryan K. C. Choy, Norman P. Li, Verena Klar, Carlota Batres, Patricia Bascheck, Christoph Schild, Lars Penke, Farid Pazhoohi, Karen Kemirembe, Jaroslava Varella Valentova, Marco Antonio Correa Varella, Caio Santos Alves da Silva, Martha Borras-Guevara, Carolyn Hodges-Simeon, Moritz Ernst, Collin Garr, Bin-Bin Chen, David Puts

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Fundamental frequency ( fo) is the most perceptually salient vocal acoustic parameter, yet little is known about how its perceptual influence varies across societies. We examined how fo affects key social perceptions and how socioecological variables modulate these effects in 2,647 adult listeners sampled from 44 locations across 22 nations. Low male fo increased men’s perceptions of formidability and prestige, especially in societies with higher homicide rates and greater relational mobility in which male intrasexual competition may be more intense and rapid identification of high-status competitors may be exigent. High female fo increased women’s perceptions of flirtatiousness where relational mobility was lower and threats to mating relationships may be greater. These results indicate that the influence of fo on social perceptions depends on socioecological variables, including those related to competition for status and mates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-262
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • attractiveness
  • cross-cultural
  • formidability
  • fundamental frequency
  • open data
  • preregistration
  • voice pitch

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