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Do we love or hate women with feminine voices?

 

Men love women with feminine voices. Other women, however, might not feel the same:

Cognitive mechanisms for recognizing high quality sexual rivals should facilitate the economical allocation of mating effort. Women compete to attract male investment, and previous studies have shown that feminine voices are attractive to men. Here, we manipulated two sexually dimorphic acoustic parameters in women’s voices, fundamental frequency and formant dispersion, by the same perceptual amounts and explored the effects on attractiveness to heterosexual men in short- and long-term mating contexts. Femininity in both acoustic parameters was more attractive to men, especially in short-term mating contexts, and formant dispersion had a larger effect than did fundamental frequency. We then explored the effects of these manipulations on women’s perceptions of other women’s flirtatiousness and attractiveness to men. Feminine voices were perceived as more flirtatious and more attractive to men, and women were most sensitive to formant dispersion, the acoustic parameter that had the stronger effect on men’s preferences. These results support the interpretation that women use vocal femininity to track the threat potential of competitors.

Source: “Intrasexual competition among women: Vocal femininity affects perceptions of attractiveness and flirtatiousness” from Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 50, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 111-115

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About Eric Barker