Men’s Evaluation of Women’s Speech in a Simulated Dating Context: Effects of Female Fertility on Vocal Pitch and Attractiveness

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Abstract

In a simulated speed dating context, 36 women were audio recorded as they verbally responded to an attractive male voice heard with its fundamental frequency (f0) electronically raised or lowered. Women’s responses, recorded during high- and low-fertility phases of their menstrual cycles, were analyzed acoustically and evaluated for their attractiveness by 50 male listeners. As hypothesized, fertility increased ratings of attractiveness. Against our prediction, however, it lowered f0, and the raised and lowered male voice exerted no effect on women’s f0 or attractiveness ratings in either fertility phase. Results are discussed in relation to cycle-related changes in women’s mating preferences and behavior, context-induced changes in speech, and subtlety in potentially dual sexual strategies.

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