EFFECTS OF ACOUSTICAL MANIPULATIONS ON PERCEPTIONS OF FEMALE VOCAL ATTRACTIVENESS AND THREAT POTENTIAL

Open Access
Author:
Barndt, Julia Lynn
Area of Honors:
Anthropology
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Andrew Puts, Thesis Supervisor
  • Timothy Michael Ryan, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Female vocal attractiveness
  • intrasexual competition
Abstract:
Good genes sexual selection theory states that individuals will evolve preferences indicators of high quality mates. It stands to reason, then, that mechanisms for recognizing high quality competitors would additionally develop in both men and women, as this would contribute to economical allocation of mating effort. Modes of intrasexual competition in one sex should mirror the mate selection criteria of the other sex; i.e., the ways in which sexes compete with each other should be those ways which will make them most attractive to the opposite sex. It is also these characteristics that should be monitored by same sex competitors. Previous studies have shown that men prefer more feminine voices. Other women should also be able to perceive this as increased attractiveness toward the potential mates in question. In the present study, I manipulated women‘s voices using the vocal parameters fundamental frequency and formant dispersion to test the effects of vocal femininity on perceived threat potential by same-sex competitors. Specifically, female listeners evaluated attractiveness to heterosexual males and flirtatiousness. I additionally examined the effects of vocal femininity on men‘s interest for short- or long-term mating contexts. I found that vocal femininity increased women‘s attractiveness to men, and increased the apparent threat potential to other women, both in terms of perceived attractiveness to men and perceived sexual interest (flirtatiousness). Men preferred feminine voices most for a short-term/sexual mating context.