The voice and face of woman: one ornament that signals quality?

David R. Feinberg, Benedict C. Jones, Lisa M. DeBruine, Fhionna R. Moore, Miriam J. Law Smith, R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Bernard P. Tiddeman, Lynda G. Boothroyd, David I. Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


The attractiveness of women's faces, voices, bodies, and odors appear to be interrelated, suggesting that they reflect a common trait such as femininity. We invoked novel approaches to test the interrelationships between female vocal and facial attractiveness and femininity. In Study 1, we examined the relationship between facial-metric femininity and voice pitch in two female populations. In both populations, facial-metric femininity correlated positively with pitch of voice. In Study 2, we constructed facial averages from two populations of women with low- and high-pitched voices and determined men's preferences for resulting prototypes. Men preferred averaged faces of women from both populations with higher pitched voices to those with lower pitched voices. In Study 3, we tested whether the findings from Study 2 also extended to the natural faces that made up the prototypes. Indeed, men and women preferred real faces of women with high-pitched voices to those with low-pitched voices. Because multiple cues to femininity are related, and feminine women may have greater reproductive fitness than do relatively masculine women, male preferences for multiple cues to femininity are potentially adaptive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-408
Number of pages11
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2005


  • attractiveness
  • face
  • femininity
  • fundamental frequency
  • masculinity
  • pitch
  • voice


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