Fellas, if you think your deep voice will attract ladies, scientists say you’ve got it all wrong. In a new study, U.S. researchers say your deep-pitched voice makes you sound more dominant and intimidating to other men, but it does little to impress women – over the long-term.
This all goes back to evolution, according to Penn State University doctors. The researchers looked at a wide variety of primates around the world, from monkeys to apes. Turns out, the deep, throaty voice hands males a “competitive advantage” in fighting or threatening the competition.
“A lower pitch made men attractive to women. But it especially made men seem more dominant to other men,” lead researcher and anthropologist, Dr. David Pets, told NBC News.
Pets focuses his research on gender-based differences. He learned that humans have the greatest sex-based differences in voice pitch out of all the primates he studied. That means women’s voices are much higher than men’s.
“We find that masculine traits in humans are not the same as, say, in peacocks where the beautiful tail attracts a mate. For example, beards make men more dominant looking, scarier and seemingly more dangerous, but most women prefer clean-shaven men,” Pets told Penn’s university news.
His study is based on a series of experiments. For starters, Pets and his team worked with more than 1,700 vocal calls from primates that are closely related to humans, such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans.
The voices were then grouped according to monogamous, promiscuous, or polygynous, which is when there is more male competition for fewer females. The more the primates had to compete for their female mates, the deeper their voices got and the more there was a disparity between the sexes.
(Anthropologists say that humans are “moderately polygynous.”)
In another experiment, about 430 university students’ voices were recorded reading a standard passage. Another 1,100 people rated the recordings for short- and long-term attractiveness, but men’s recordings were also considered for dominance.
In this case, deep voices didn’t necessarily attract women but it definitely scared off men. Men thought deep voices belonged to a dominant man. Women liked low-pitched voices, but not consistently.
When it came to women, men didn’t care if they had high-pitched or low-pitched voices.
This isn’t the first study to call out men with deep voices. In 2013, a Canadian study out of McMaster University found that women are drawn to deep voices – but only for short flings.
They suggested that it’s because women perceived deep-voiced men as cheaters.
In another study, as Pets noted, women weren’t attracted to men with beards, but the facial hair was enough to garner respect from other men.