2008 volume 37(4) pages 615 – 623
doi:10.1068/p5514

Cite as:
Feinberg D R, DeBruine L M, Jones B C, Perrett D I, 2008, "The role of femininity and averageness of voice pitch in aesthetic judgments of women’s voices" Perception 37(4) 615 – 623

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The role of femininity and averageness of voice pitch in aesthetic judgments of women’s voices

David R Feinberg, Lisa M DeBruine, Benedict C Jones, David I Perrett

Received 21 September 2005, in revised form 11 June 2007; published online 12 March 2008

Abstract. Although averageness is preferred in auditory stimuli (eg music) and non-face objects (eg wristwatches), exaggerated feminine characteristics are preferred to averageness in female faces. To establish whether or not men prefer femininity in female voices to average characteristics, we conducted a correlational study (study 1) to assess the relationship between voice pitch and attractiveness ratings. We found a positive linear relationship between voice pitch and attractiveness ratings. In study 2 we manipulated pitch in women’s voices with low (lower than average), average, and high (higher than average) starting pitches and gauged men’s preferences. Men preferred women’s voices with raised pitch for all levels of starting pitch. These findings suggest that men prefer high voice pitch to average voice pitch in women’s voices.

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