View More View Less
  • 1 School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
  • 3 University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Restricted access

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that men prefer women's voices with relatively high pitch to those with low pitch, suggesting that men may use voice pitch as a cue of women's mate quality. However, evidence that voice pitch is a cue to women's long-term health is equivocal. Here we present evidence that women's average speaking voice pitch is negatively correlated with a health risk index derived from principle component analysis of various body measurements that are known to predict long-term health outcomes in women (weight, body mass index, percentage body fat, waist and hip circumference, and waist-hip ratio). Our results suggest that voice pitch is a cue to women's long-term health, supporting mate-choice accounts of men's preferences for raised pitch in women's voices.

  • J. Abitbol P. Abitbol B. Abitbol 1999 Sex hormones and the female voice Journal of Voice 13 424 446.

  • C. L. Apicella D. R. Feinberg 2009 Voice pitch alters mate-choice relevant perception in hunter-gatherers Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 276 1077 1082.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J. Bigaard K. Frederiksen A. Tjønneland B. L. Thomsen K. Overvad B. L. Heitmann T. I. A. Sørensen 2004 Waist and hip circumferences and all-cause mortality: Usefulness of the waist-to-hip ratio? International Journal of Obesity 28 741 747.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boersma, P. & Weenink, D. (2007): Praat. Summer Institute of Linguistics. http://www.praat.org.

  • S. Collins C. Missing 2003 Vocal and visual attractiveness are related in women Animal Behaviour 6 997 1004.

  • S. Evans N. Neave D. Wakelin 2006 Relationships between vocal characteristics and body size and shape in human males: An evolutionary explanation for a deep male voice Biological Psychology 72 160 163.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • G. Fant 1960 Acoustic Theory of Speech Production Mouton & Co The Hague.

  • D. R. Feinberg L. M. Debruine B. C. Jones D. I. Perrett 2008 The role of femininity and averageness of voice pitch in aesthetic judgments of women's voices Perception 37 615 623.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Feinberg, D. R., Jones, B. C., Debruine, L. M., Law Smith, M. J., Cornwell, R. E., Hillier, S. G. & Perrett, D. I. (2006): Maintenance of vocal sexual dimorphism: Adaptive selection against androgyny. Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Philadelphia, PA USA. June 2006.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D. R. Feinberg B. C. Jones L. M. Debruine F. R. Moore M. J. Law Smith R. E. Cornwell B. P. Tiddeman L. G. Boothroyd D. I. Perrett 2005 The voice and face of woman: One ornament that signals quality? Evolution and Human Behavior 26 398 408.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J. T. Fine G. A. Colditz E. H. Coakley 1999 A prospective study of weight change and health-related quality of life in women Journal of American Medical Association 282 2136 2142.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • W. T. Fitch 1997 Vocal tract length and formant frequency dispersion correlate with body size in rhesus macaques Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 102 1213 1222.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D. C. Geary 2005 Evolution of life-history trade-offs in mate attractiveness and health: Comment on Weeden and Sabini (2005) Psychological Bulletin 131 654 657.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J. Gonzalez 2007 Correlations between speakers’ body size and acoustic parameters of voice Perceptual and Motor Skills 105 215 220.

  • D. Graddol J. Swann 1983 Speaking fundamental-frequency — some physical and social correlates Language and Speech 26 351 366.

  • J. J. A. Henderson J. M. Anglin 2003 Facial attractiveness predicts longevity Evolution and Human Behavior 24 351 356.

  • S. M. Hughes M. J. Pastizzo G. G. Gallup 2008 The sound of symmetry revisited: Subjective and objective analyses of voice Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 32 93 108.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S. M. Hughes F. Dispenza G. G. Gallup 2004 Ratings of voice attractiveness predict sexual behavior and body configuration Evolution and Human Behavior 25 295 304.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S. M. Hughes M. A. Harrison G. G. Gallup 2002 The sound of symmetry — Voice as a marker of developmental instability Evolution and Human Behavior 23 173 180.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D. K. Hume R. Montgomerie 2001 Facial attractiveness signals different aspects of quality in men and women Evolution and Human Behavior 22 93 112.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • B. C. Jones D. R. Feinberg L. M. Debruine A. C. Little J. Vukovic 2010 A domain-specific opposite-sex bias in human preferences for manipulated voice pitch Animal Behaviour 79 57 62.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • B. C. Jones D. R. Feinberg L. M. Debruine A. C. Little J. Vukovic 2008 Integrating cues of social interest and voice pitch in men's preferences for women's voices Biology Letters 4 192 194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • S. M. Kalick L. A. Zebrowitz J. H. Langlois R. M. Johnson 1998 Does human facial attractiveness honestly advertise health? Longitudinal data on an evolutionary question Psychological Science 9 8 13.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • H. J. Kunzel 1989 How well does average fundamental-frequency correlate with speaker height and weight Phonetica 46 117 125.

  • R. L. Leibel N. K. Edens S. K. Fried 1989 Physiologic basis for the control of body fat distribution in humans Annual Review of Nutrition 9 417 443.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • J. E. Manson W. C. Willet M. J. Stampfer G. A. Colditz D. J. Hunter S. E. Hankinson C. H. Hennekens F. E. Speizer 1995 Body weight and mortality among women New England Journal of Medicine 333 677 685.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D. Reby K. Mccomb 2003 Anatomical constraints generate honesty: Acoustic cues to age and weight in the roars of red deer stags Animal Behaviour 65 519 530.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • G. Rhodes L. Zebrowitz A. Clark S. M. Kalick A. Hightower R. Mckay 2001 Do facial averageness and symmetry signal health? Evolution and Human Behavior 22 31 46.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R. Roubenoff G. E. Dalat P. W. F. Wilson 1998 Predicting body fatness: The body mass index vs estimation by bioelectrical impedance American Journal of Public Health 85 726 728.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • A. M. Taylor D. Reby 2009 The contribution of source-filter theory to mammal vocal communication research Journal of Zoology 280 221 236.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • R. Thornhill S. W. Gangestad 2006 Facial sexual dimorphism, developmental stability, and susceptibility to disease in men and women Evolution and Human Behavior 27 131 144.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • I. R. Titze 1994 Principles of Voice Production Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

  • W. C. Willet J. E. Manson M. J. Stampfer G. A. Colditz B. Rosner F. E. Speizer C. H. Hennekens 1995 Weight, weight change and coronary heart disease in women: Risk within the ‘normal’ weight range Journal of the American Medical Association 273 461 465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

No Evolutionist is an Island

A review of Kevin N. Laland and Gillian R. Brown (2011) Sense and Nonsense. Evolutionary perspectives of human behaviour Oxford: Oxford University Press. 270 pages, ISBN: 978-0-19-958696-7