Vocal modulation in human mating and competition

The human voice is dynamic, and people modulate their voices across different social interactions. This article presents a review of the literature examining natural vocal modulation in social contexts relevant to human mating and intrasexual competition. Altering acoustic parameters during speech, particularly pitch, in response to mating and competitive contexts can influence social perception and indicate certain qualities of the speaker. For instance, a lowered voice pitch is often used to exert dominance, display status, and compete with rivals. Changes in voice can also serve as a salient medium for signaling a person’s attraction to another, and there is evidence to support the notion that attraction and/or romantic interest can be distinguished through vocal tones alone. Individuals can purposely change their vocal behavior in attempt to sound more attractive and to facilitate courtship success. Several findings also point to the effectiveness of vocal change as a mechanism for communicating relationship status. As future studies continue to explore vocal modulation in the arena of human mating, we will gain a better understanding of how and why vocal modulation varies across social contexts and its impact on receiver psychology.



Work Title Vocal modulation in human mating and competition
Open Access
  1. Susan Hughes
  2. David Puts
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publication Date November 1, 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0388
Deposited November 16, 2021




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