Your voice can say a lot about you. These bits of information can be obvious, like gender and approximate age, but they can also be much more complex, such as your level of attractiveness or propensity to be unfaithful.
A new study claims that people’s voices may be a good indicator of whether or not they’re likely to cheat.
For the research, scientists made volunteers listen to recordings of people who said that they had or hadn’t cheated; these volunteers later ranked each voice recording on a level of trustworthiness.
The Conversation reports that the recordings all came from people who had “similar pitch, attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating).” Crazily enough, volunteers were able to accurately rank those with a cheating history as more likely to be unfaithful, even though they had no information on the people from the recordings. Women were also better at recognizing cheaters than men.
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As a way of getting rid of other variables that could influence results, researchers also manipulated the voices. The results were still the same.
These findings expand upon the idea that the human voice may be of value as a cheater detection tool and very thin slices of vocal information are all that is needed to make certain assessments about others.
We were unable to identify exactly which acoustic qualities were driving the perception of cheating ascriptions, albeit a detailed acoustical analysis beyond the aims and scope of this perceptual study.
It is interesting, then, to speculate what aspects of the human voice raters were using to make these accurate assessments because we eliminated differences between groups for the more conspicuous cues of a voice that could be driving factors (i.e., variations in vocal attractiveness, voice pitch, and other basic acoustic features).”
While the study poses more questions than it answers, it’s very interesting to know that our voices carry such weight and importance. It’s also kind of scary and cool that we know so much by doing so little.