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Deep-Voiced Politicians

April 12, 2012

Politicians with deep voices may garner more respect – and votes.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (Host):

Pitching a candidate…I’m Bob Hirhson and this is Science Update.

HIRSHON:

All other things being equal, people may be more likely to vote for political candidates with lower-pitched voices than higher-pitched voices. This according to Duke behavioral ecologist Rindy Anderson. She and her colleagues recorded both women and men saying:

SIMULATED CANDIDATE:

“I urge you to vote for me this November.”

HIRSHON:

The researchers digitally manipulated the recordings, making them sound slightly higher and slightly lower in pitch than normal.

SIMULATED CANDIDATE:

“I urge you to vote for me this November.”

Then they had volunteers listen to the voices and decide which version of the simulated politician they would rather vote for.

RINDY ANDERSON (Duke University):

We found that both male and female listeners voted more often for the lower-pitched version, whether it was a male candidate or a female candidate.

HIRSHON:

Anderson says this jibes with other studies suggesting that whether or not it’s deserved, deeper voices command more respect. They plan to test the findings in real elections later this year. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

A voter's choice is influenced by many factors. (Tom Arthur/Wikimedia Commons)