Perhaps the Republican Presidential contenders should take a little time out from campaigning to watch some classic John Wayne movies, paying careful attention to the iconic actor’s voice: Findings from a new study suggest that voters are more likely to pick candidates who have deeper voices.
A newly published paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences shows that men and women are both more likely to vote for male and female candidates with lower-pitched voices whom they perceive as more competent, stronger and more trustworthy.
“Our study asks how voice pitch influences electability, and to my knowledge is the first to examine the voices of both male and female candidates,” says Casey Klofstad, associate professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami and corresponding author for the study. “For example, we found that men and women perceive lower pitched female voices to be more competent and stronger. In contrast, only men perceive lower pitched male voices to be more competent and stronger.”
The findings suggest that men and women with lower voices could be more successful in obtaining positions of leadership. The results also raise the question of whether the electability of female candidates could be influenced by the fact that women tend to have higher-pitched voices than men. The authors contend that while people are free to choose their leaders, these choices cannot be understood in isolation from biological influences.