No evidence that averaging voices influences attractiveness

Jessica Ostrega, Victor Shiramizu, Anthony J. Lee, Benedict C. Jones, David R. Feinberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Vocal attractiveness influences important social outcomes. While most research on the acoustic parameters that influence vocal attractiveness has focused on the possible roles of sexually dimorphic characteristics of voices, such as fundamental frequency (i.e., pitch) and formant frequencies (i.e., a correlate of body size), other work has reported that increasing vocal averageness increases attractiveness. Here we investigated the roles these three characteristics play in judgments of the attractiveness of male and female voices. In Study 1, we found that increasing vocal averageness significantly decreased distinctiveness ratings, demonstrating that participants could detect manipulations of vocal averageness in this stimulus set and using this testing paradigm. However, in Study 2, we found no evidence that increasing averageness significantly increased attractiveness ratings of voices. In Study 3, we found that fundamental frequency was negatively correlated with male vocal attractiveness and positively correlated with female vocal attractiveness. By contrast with these results for fundamental frequency, vocal attractiveness and formant frequencies were not significantly correlated. Collectively, our results suggest that averageness may not necessarily significantly increase attractiveness judgments of voices and are consistent with previous work reporting significant associations between attractiveness and voice pitch.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10488
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2024

Keywords

  • Vocal attractiveness
  • acoustic parameters
  • male and female voices
  • vocal averageness

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