Navigation Links
Straight or Gay? Vowels in Speech May Give it Away

FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- For the average listener, the vowel sounds in an unfamiliar voice quickly give away the speaker's sexual orientation, a new study finds.

"I'm not sure what exactly the listeners are responding to in the vowel," study lead author Erik C. Tracy, a cognitive psychologist at Ohio State University, said in a news release from the American Institute of Physics. "Other researchers have done various acoustic analyses to understand why gay and heterosexual men produce vowels differently. Whatever this difference is, it seems that listeners are using it to make this sexual orientation decision."

When hearing an unfamiliar voice at the other end of the phone line, most people instantly judge the stranger's characteristics based on how they speak, and the new study suggests listeners are usually pretty accurate in their determination.

"This is a phenomenon that occurs every day," Tracy said. "We are constantly speaking with people we don't know on our phones, and just from this conversation, we might be able to identify personal characteristics about that person, such as their gender, age, race or sexual orientation."

In order to understand how this process works, Tracy and a colleague focused on one characteristic -- sexual orientation. They asked seven gay and seven heterosexual males to record single-syllable words (including "mass," "food" and "sell") and then played the recordings for listeners. The study participants were then asked to identify the sexual orientation of the speakers when hearing only the first letter sound of those words, the first two letter sounds, or the entire words.

The listeners were unable to determine the sexual orientation after hearing the sound of the first letter in the spoken word, for example, just the "m" sound in the word "mass." But, "when presented with the first two letter sounds [for example "ma"], listeners were 75 percent accurate," Tracy said. "We believe that listeners are using the acoustic information contained in vowels to make this sexual orientation decision," he explained.

The findings are scheduled to be presented May 23 in Seattle at the meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Experts note that research presented at meetings has not been subjected to the same type of rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about sexual orientation.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Institute of Physics, news release, May 18, 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Motorcycle Deaths Drop for Second Straight Year: Report
2. Gay Teens Punished More Harshly Than Straight Peers: Analysis
3. Narcissistic Men Typically Direct Their Rage at Straight Women
4. Bright Horizons Honored as Company that Cares for Third Straight Year
5. National Council on Aging Launches Straight Talk for Seniors
6. Technique for letting brain talk to computers now tunes in speech
7. Factors linked to speech/swallowing problems after treatment for head and neck cancers
8. Speech, Swallowing Usually OK After Head & Neck Cancer Therapy
9. Award to honor pivotal career in speech research
10. A sing-song way to a cure for speech disorder
11. New robotic head and neck cancer surgery preserves speech, without scarring
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Straight or Gay? Vowels in Speech May Give it Away
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... Cycling, running, and walking are regular Sunday activities for many South ... 28, 2016. , That’s when the 7th annual ANF Group Tour de Broward ... and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. , The community fundraiser, sponsored ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... ingredient list of its hemorrhoid ointment to its website. , “Our goal is ... people suffering from hemorrhoids. Adding the comparison chart and ingredient list allows our ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... At Grand Dental PC, their priority is ... When you have dental problems, you need to turn to a dentist who listens ... treat your needs, a friendly dentist who counsels you on the best ways to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... Dr. Seth D. Margulies specializes in orthodontics and is based in Perth ... the best available orthodontic experience in the area. Dr. Margulies has met all ... the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... new study by UPMC and KingMed Diagnostics researchers. Their ... years found that consultation with UPMC pathologists resulted in significantly altered treatment plans ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Novartis will demonstrate the strength ... th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. ... as well as supportive care, including key findings in ... cell therapies. The ASH Annual Meeting will be held ... Novartis Oncology . "We will be presenting ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and BOSTON , November 30, 2015 ... develop potential new medicines directed at up to 10 ... --> PFE ) to research and develop ... protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets across multiple therapeutic areas. ... drug discovery and development company and wholly-owned subsidiary of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 ... or the "Company") announced today that it was informed by ... and Drug Safety (MFDS) has approved its Exablate Neuro ... --> --> Insightec,s Exablate ... treatment alternative that combines two technologies: Focused Ultrasound, which ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: