Can the pitch of a candidate’s voice sway voters as much as the content of his or her speeches? The surprising answer from a new study: Yes.
A team of researchers from the University of Miami and Duke University found voters prefer candidates with deeper voices – a finding that could have implications for women politicians.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, found men and women perceived candidates with lower-pitched voices as “more competent, trustworthy and stronger” than others.
"Our study asks how voice pitch influences electability, and to my knowledge is the first to examine the voices of both male and female candidates," said researcher Casey Klofstad, a political science specialist at the University of Miami. "For example, we found that men and women perceive lower-pitched female voices to be more competent and stronger. In contrast, only men perceive lower-pitched male voices to be more competent and stronger."
The study -- entitled "Sounds like a winner: Voice pitch influences perception of leadership capacity in both men and women" – suggests the electability of female candidates could be influenced by women’s tendency to have higher-pitched voices than men.