Feeds

What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice?

Voice a 'multidimensional fitness indicator'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Also in this week's column:

What can you learn from the sound of someone's voice?

Quite a bit it seems. There is considerable evidence that the sound of a person's voice reveals a great deal about the speaker.

Studies have shown that a listener who hears the voice of someone else can infer the speaker's social class, various personality traits, emotional and mental state, and attributes related to deception.

In research with experimental subjects who listen to voice samples from speakers, subjects are then just as capable of correctly estimating the height, weight, and age of those speakers with the same degree of accuracy as that achieved by examining photographs of those speakers. They both correctly estimate the height, weight, and age of speakers 75 per cent of the time.

This was the conclusion of a study by Dr Robert Krauss and colleagues from the Department of Psychology at Columbia University and published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2002.

Research by Dr Susan Hughes and colleagues at the Department of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, found that individuals with a symmetrical (ie, an attractive) body were rated as having more attractive voices compared with individuals with a less symmetrical (ie, an unattractive) body. As deviation from a symmetrical body increases, the attractiveness of the voice decreases.

In an article published in Evoution and Human Behaviour in 2002 and another in 2004, the Hughes team concludes that the sound of a person's voice may serve as "an important multidimensional fitness indicator".

Voice may be an important factor in sexual attraction. Just as people are attracted to healthy bodies, they are attracted to healthy voices. Humans tend to desire fit mates. It is in their individual interest and in their species evolutionary interest to do so.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.