December 22, 2011

Voice pitch and semen quality

The effect was small, but, nonetheless quite interesting. If semen quality is linked to the probability of a pregnancy per copulation, and if voice attractiveness is linked to the expected number of copulations, then it's easy to see how a tradeoff between voice attractiveness and semen quality might work.

PLoS ONE 6(12): e29271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029271

Low Pitched Voices Are Perceived as Masculine and Attractive but Do They Predict Semen Quality in Men?

Leigh W. Simmons et al.

Women find masculinity in men's faces, bodies, and voices attractive, and women's preferences for men's masculine features are thought to be biological adaptations for finding a high quality mate. Fertility is an important aspect of mate quality. Here we test the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis, which proposes that male secondary sexual characters are positively related to semen quality, allowing females to obtain direct benefits from mate choice. Specifically, we examined women's preferences for men's voice pitch, and its relationship with men's semen quality. Consistent with previous voice research, women judged lower pitched voices as more masculine and more attractive. However men with lower pitched voices did not have better semen quality. On the contrary, men whose voices were rated as more attractive tended to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate. These data are more consistent with a trade off between sperm production and male investment in competing for and attracting females, than with the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis.



Fanty said...


Well, there is a relation between voice pitch and age however.

Male voices become as more high pitched, so more old the male is.

While female voices become lower pitched by age.

With other words: Male and female voices both lose attractivity with age.

Pascvaks said...

Interesting. Once you think about it, makes perfect sense. Would be interesting to also get a similar check of female voice pitch. (Of course, those females with the highest pitch today would likely be on birth control pills.) Would think that those women with medium pitch would be the most "attractive" to men with "deep pitch"; which likely says something to men about "perceived" maturity in women (too high = immaturity, too low = too old?)

Tom Bridgeland said...

Well, high testosterone levels result in lower sperm counts, due to a hormone feedback. Not so surprising then that men with stereotypical signs of high levels would have lower sperm counts.