When we hear a voice, we think we can automatically deduce the personality of the speaker. But is it a reliable interpretation? What does the voice really say about a person’s character?
Most of us will probably know this situation: we talk to a person on the phone or listen to a podcast, and an image of this person automatically arises in our mind.
We don’t just have an idea of age and gender, and whether the person is small and petite, or tall and strong. We also hear if someone is sad, friendly, interested or nervous. And we also believe that we can get an idea of other people’s personality only through voice.
Psychological studies have shown in the past that a person’s voice plays a role in choosing a partner and, in the case of a politician, can also influence people’s voting behavior.
The tone of the voice seems to be especially decisive in all this: in the numerous studies, the subjects tended to associate a rather deep voice with dominance, attractiveness, intelligence and honesty.
Although this sounds like bad news for high-pitched voices, research so far has focused primarily on the associations that the sound of a voice elicits in listeners. And that says little about the actual character of the person speaking.
Psychologist Christoph Schild of the University of Siegen points out that people can be quite wrong with their interpretations of the voice: “Mike Tyson, for example, is known for his rather high-pitched voice, but at the same time he’s more likely to be considered a dominant person.
Schild was part of a team led by psychologist Julia Stern, who was doing research at the University of Göttingen at the time and wanted to find out if voice really can reflect personality.
In short, it can reflect it. Some traits of a person’s character can be read in the voice, but only some. The researchers recruited 2,217 men and women for their study, published in 2021. There were 1,299 female participants, a higher number than men. Stern and his team wanted to know if a high or low voice is associated with certain character traits.
According to the hypotheses that the researchers wanted to test, people with a deeper voice are more dominant, more extroverted, less affable and more sexually active. Sound recordings of all participating volunteers were made in order to determine the exact timbre of the voices. In the classification into high and low voices, both age and sex were taken into account.
News and Images Source