What Our Voice Says About Us

Changes in voice may reveal a lot about ourselves, study says
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2017 9:45 AM CDT
Job Hunters: Your Voice May Give You Away
Pitch of voice is a window into self-perception, a study says.   (Getty Images/FangXiaNuo)

Job hunters, take note: If you're insecure during an interview, your voice may give you away. A new study reveals that people speak in higher-pitched voices when they're speaking to someone they see as higher status. Writing in Quartz, the researchers say that men and women who viewed themselves as dominant usually spoke in a lower pitch and were less likely to change it. "A deep, masculine voice sounds dominant, especially in men, while the opposite is true of a higher-pitched voice," says co-author Viktoria Mileva per Science Daily. She says raising the pitch of your voice to an interviewer "may be a signal of submissiveness, to show the listener that you are not a threat, and to avoid possible confrontations." People who saw themselves as prestigious, meaning people look up to them, were less likely to vary their voices at all.

In the study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers asked 48 people to answer questions via webcam posed by three would-be employers rated as appearing dominant, prestigious, or neutral. Questions such as "introduce yourself" elicited a less dramatic change of voice than "how would you approach your boss to discuss a problem?" The researchers concluded that people "subtly manipulate" their voices depending on social context without realizing they're doing it. "The more dominant you feel, the less you need to worry about other people's dominance," they write in Quartz. "At the same time, the more prestigious you feel, the more calm and relaxed you may be." (Another tip: The sound of your voice matters more than email.)

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