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Want to Sound Like a Leader? Speak Like a Man, Study Contends

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People appear to prefer leaders with more masculine voices, even if they're women, a new study says.

Earlier research has shown that people prefer leaders with more masculine voices. But this study looked at what happens when the leadership position is one typically held by a woman or perceived as more feminine, such as being president of a parent-teacher association or a school board member, the study authors said.

The study included volunteers who listened to the phrase "I urge you to vote for me this November" spoken by voices that differed only in whether they had a higher or lower pitch. The results showed that both male and female participants preferred female candidates with masculine voices. Men also preferred men with masculine voices but women did not have a preference for lower- or higher-pitched male voices.

The findings suggest that influence of voice pitch on people's perceptions of leadership ability is consistent across different types of leadership, concluded Rindy Anderson from Duke University and Casey Klofstad from the University of Miami.

Their study was published Dec. 12 in the journal PLoS One.

"We often do not consider how our biology can influence our decision-making. The results of this study show that voice pitch -- a physiological characteristic -- can affect how we select our leaders," Klofstad said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery discusses common voice problems.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: PLoS One, news release, Dec. 12, 2012

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