The role of femininity and averageness of voice pitch in aesthetic judgments of women's voices.
Feinberg DR, DeBruine LM, Jones BC, Perrett DI.
Although averageness is preferred in auditory stimuli (eg music) and non-face objects (eg wristwatches), exaggerated feminine characteristics are preferred to averageness in female faces. To establish whether or not men prefer femininity in female voices to average characteristics, we conducted a correlational study (study 1) to assess the relationship between voice pitch and attractiveness ratings. We found a positive linear relationship between voice pitch and attractiveness ratings. In study 2 we manipulated pitch in women's voices with low (lower than average), average, and high (higher than average) starting pitches and gauged men's preferences. Men preferred women's voices with raised pitch for all levels of starting pitch. These findings suggest that men prefer high voice pitch to average voice pitch in women's voices.