Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do the most successful politicians have high or low voices?

Scientific American reports:

In two recently published studies, researchers looked at how the pitch of a candidate’s voice affected their chances in an election. The first study found that in the 2012 U.S. House elections candidates with lower voices were more likely than a higher-pitched opponent to win. With one exception: when running against a female opponent, candidates with higher voices were more popular, especially if they were men. . . .

In the second study, researchers wanted to know why a deep voice was a potent political tool. They recorded men and women speaking the sentence “I urge you to vote for me this November.” They then altered the recordings to create higher and lower pitched versions of each sentence.

More than 800 volunteers listened to the audio. Their preference for lower-pitched voices correlated with their preconception that these individuals were older, stronger and more competent.

The researchers note that a preference for leaders with deeper voices may be the result of so-called “cavemen instincts.” A deep voice is associated with high testosterone, physical strength and aggression. And way back when, those qualities were probably attractive in a leader. High-pitched voices also are thought to convey negative emotions, such as stress and fear.
If Hillary Clinton or another woman is the Democratic nominee, this is good news for Marco Rubio. If Joe Biden or another man is the Democratic nominee, this is good news for Jeb Bush.