Sunday 25 February 2018

'Lower your voice' to secure votes

Former PM Margaret Thatcher famously had elocution lessons to lower her 'too feminine' voice
Former PM Margaret Thatcher famously had elocution lessons to lower her 'too feminine' voice

Politicians with shrill voices should follow Margaret Thatcher's lead if they want to win votes, research suggests.

The former prime minister famously had elocution lessons to lower her "too feminine" voice and sound more authoritative.

Her instincts were right, according to a new study, as voters really do prefer election candidates with deeper, more masculine voices.

Scientists tested the way people responded to voices by manipulating recordings of past US presidents, creating lower and higher-pitched versions of each one.

The altered recordings were played to volunteers, who were asked to rate their perceptions of the speakers' attractiveness, leadership potential, honesty, intelligence and dominance.

Participants were also asked which version of the voice they would prefer to vote for, both in peace and wartime. In all cases, there were more positive responses to lower-pitched voices.

The findings were published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour.

Lead researcher Cara Tigue, from McMaster University, based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, said: "We're looking at men's low voice-pitch as a cue to dominance, which is related to leadership.

"Throughout our evolutionary history, it would have been important for our ancestors to pay attention to cues to good leadership because group leaders affected a person's ability to survive and reproduce within a group.

"We're looking at it in a present-day, 21st-century context."

Press Association

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