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Deep male voice makes an attractive mate; enhances a woman’s memory

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Male Voice

The sound of a deep male voice helps women remember better. So says a new study from David Smith and colleagues from the University of Aberdeen in the UK. Women also seem to prefer mating with a guy whose voice is deep and low pitched.

For their study, researchers conducted two separate experiments on two groups of women.

In the finding, published in the journal Memory & Cognition, women consistently remembered images of objects that were spoken by a low pitch male voice. They also said they preferred hearing a man with a deep voice, compared to a higher pitched and female voice.

Men with low pitched voices more desirable to women

According to the authors, a low-pitched voice is an important cue for women when it comes to choosing a mate. The researchers say voice may signal good genes.

In the first test, the women were shown pictures of objects spoken either by a high or low pitch male or female manipulated voice.

Next, they were shown similar, but not identical objects and asked which one they remembered. In the second test, real and manipulated female and male voices were used.

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They were also asked which voice they preferred – in each experiment the women said they preferred a deep male voice.

Smith said, "Our findings demonstrate that women's memory is enhanced with lower pitch male voices, compared with the less attractive raised pitch male voices.

Our two experiments indicate for the first time that signals from the opposite-sex that are important for mate choice also affect the accuracy of women's memory."

Research supervisor Dr. Kevin Allan says women remember better when a man with a deep voice speaks because of evolution. “Good memory for specific encounters with desirable men allows women to compare and evaluate men according to how they might behave in different relationship contexts.”

The authors suggest women rely on their memory when evaluating a potential partner.

Allan adds, if a woman makes the wrong choice in a male partner, the consequences can be “severe”. The study shows women remember what a man says when the message is spoken in a deep voice – a low pitch male voice seems to be important to women when choosing a mate.

Smith D et al (2011).
"A modulatory effect of male voice pitch on long-term memory in women: evidence of adaptation for mate choice?"
Memory & Cognition; DOI 10.1007/s13421-011-0136-6"

Image credit: moreguefile