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If you want more babies, find a man with a deep voice

Hamilton, ON. Sept. 24, 2007 Men who have lower-pitched voices have more children than do men with high-pitched voices, researchers have found. And their study suggests that for reproductive-minded women, mate selection favours men with low-pitched voices.

The study, published in Biology Letters, offers insight into the evolution of the human voice as well as how we choose our mates.

In previous studies, David Feinberg, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University, and his colleagues have shown that women find deeper male voices to be more attractive, judging them to be more dominant, older, healthier and more masculine sounding. Men, on the other hand, find higher-pitch voices in women more attractive, subordinate, feminine, healthier and younger sounding.

While we find in this new study that voice pitch is not related to offspring mortality rates, says Feinberg, we find that men with low voice pitch have higher reproductive success and more children born to them.

Feinberg and his colleague Coren Apicella chose their subjects for this study from the Hadza of Tanzania, one of the last true hunter-gatherer cultures. Because the Hadza have no modern birth control, the researchers were able to determine that men who have lower pitched voices have more children than men with higher pitched voices.

If our ancestors went through a similar process, says Feinberg, this could be one reason why mens and womens voices sound different.


Contact: Michelle Donovan
McMaster University

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