It takes less than a second to form an impression of someone’s personality based on just their voice. It turns out that our voices can communicate a surprising amount of information about our gender, age, body strength, socioeconomic status, personality, emotional/ and even physical attractiveness.
A UK study had men and women rate the attractiveness of different male voice recordings, and then rate photos of the men. Deep, breathy voices with narrow format spacing were rated as more attractive as they sounded dominant, confident and sexy. When researchers matched the hot voices with hot photos, those that were more symmetrical (a sign of genetic fitness), they found that people had accurately predicted the hotness of the guy by the attractiveness of his voice.
Attractive male voices also correspond with hunkier male bodies – those with broad shoulders and narrow waists. That could be because testosterone influences both voice and physical development, so a man’s deep voice could indicate more muscle mass and strength. However, deep voices have been correlated with lower quality semen. And make sure that deep voice isn’t angry – women didn’t go for male voices that indicated aggression.
There are similar findings with women’s voices. High, breathy voices with wide format spacing are more attractive in women. Think Scarlett Johansson’s throaty, sexy voice. High voices correlate with healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone, a smaller body size, and a nice figure eight silhouette (waist-to-hip ratio).
Voices also reveal a speaker’s level of physiological arousal. When speaking with an attractive person of the opposite sex, both sexes used a lower-pitch voice. So interestingly, while high female voices are attractive, husky, breathy and lower-pitched voices indicate sexual interest. That voice change could explain how women’s voices are most attractive when they’re ovulating and therefore most reproductively viable. During that fertile stage, women are also more strongly attracted to deep male voices.
A guy who raises his pitch becomes more trustworthy, according to a study at the University of Glasglow and reported in NewScientist. A girl who glides from a high to low pitch is seen as more trustworthy than a girl whose voice goes up at the end of the word. Valley girl accents are the wrong way to get someone to trust you. Like, really.