Dec 4, 2008

Women prefer males with deep voices

Women 'prefer men with deeper voices'

Women prefer males with deep voices because it signals strength, dominance and good genes, a new research suggests.

The research among African hunter-gatherers found that men with deeper voices attract women more than those with squeaky ones when they are at their most fertile. Deeper-voiced men are deemed better hunters who offer more protection, the study claimed.

According to the study, women who were nursing a child prefer higher-pitched male voices than fertile women who had not recently given birth, reports New Scientist. Coren Apicella, an anthropologist at Harvard University and leader of the study, said the Hadza - hunter-gatherers native to northern Tanzania - have limited exposure to the mass media.

Cut off from the daily bombardment of advertisements, pop songs and newscasts that''s typical in much of the world, they were an ideal population in which to study innate sexual preferences, Coren said. To reach the conclusion, the boffin spent six months studying vocal preferences among Hadza men and women.

She tested the vocal preferences of 88 Hadza men and women. They heard a member of the opposite sex saying the Swahili word "hujambo" - loosely translated as hello - in a computer-altered high and low register. Women were asked whether the voice belonged to someone likely to make a good hunter and husband, while men rated the voices in terms of skill as a forager and suitability as a wife. Apicella found that the Hadza men judged deeper-voiced women to be better foragers, but they fancied the highest-pitched women.

Nursing women favoured higher-pitched tones, while fertile women showed a slight preference for the deeper voices, she found. When Hadza women start breast-feeding, their foraging falls off. "They rely on men a lot more to bring in food and resources. Maybe a higher-pitched voice is signalling pro-social behaviour,” the expert said.