Voice Correlates of Mating Success in Men: Examining "Contests" Versus "Mate Choice" Modes of Sexual Selection

Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 04/2010; 40(3):551-7. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-010-9625-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Men's copulatory success can often be predicted by measuring traits involved in male contests and female choice. Previous research has demonstrated relationships between one such vocal trait in men, mean fundamental frequency (F(0)), and the outcomes and indicators of sexual success with women. The present study investigated the role of another vocal parameter, F(0) variation (the within-subject SD in F(0) across the utterance, F(0)-SD), in predicting men's reported number of female sexual partners in the last year. Male participants (N = 111) competed with another man for a date with a woman. Recorded interactions with the competitor ("competitive recording") and the woman ("courtship recording") were analyzed for five non-linguistic vocal parameters: F(0)-SD, mean F(0), intensity, duration, and formant dispersion (D( f ), an acoustic correlate of vocal tract length), as well as dominant and attractive linguistic content. After controlling for age and attitudes toward uncommitted sex (SOI), lower F(0)-SD (i.e., a more monotone voice) and more dominant linguistic content were strong predictors of the number of past-year sexual partners, whereas mean F(0) and D( f ) did not significantly predict past-year partners. These contrasts have implications for the relative importance of male contests and female choice in shaping men's mating success and hence the origins and maintenance of sexually dimorphic traits in humans.

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Available from: David A Puts, Aug 13, 2015
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    • "These results are puzzling, since independent male raters give consistent ratings of dominance using voice clips in the lab (Hodges-Simeon et al. 2010; Puts et al. 2006). Indeed, vocal features predict mating and reproductive success (Apicella et al. 2007; Hodges-Simeon et al. 2011; Puts 2005), and when considering leadership positions such as presidencies, people in laboratory settings vote for candidates with lower-pitched voices (Tigue et al. 2012). One possible explanation for this discrepancy is that, although masculine vocal characteristics such as low pitch produce consistent impressions of dominance among listeners, these impressions are largely false (Collins 2000; Pisanski et al. 2012; Rendall et al. 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have used self-ratings or strangers' ratings to assess men's attractiveness and dominance, attributes that have likely affected men's access to mates throughout human evolution. However, attractiveness and dominance include more than isolated impressions; they incorporate knowledge gained through social interaction. We tested whether dominance and attractiveness assessed by acquaintances can be predicted from (1) strangers' ratings made from facial photographs and vocal clips and (2) self-ratings. Two university social fraternities, their socially affiliated sororities, and independent raters evaluated men's short- and long-term attractiveness, fighting ability, and leadership ability. Ratings made by unfamiliar men using faces, but not voices, predicted acquaintance-rated fighting and leadership ability, whereas ratings made by unfamiliar women from faces and voices predicted acquaintance-rated short- and long-term attractiveness. Except for leadership, self-ratings aligned with peers' evaluations. These findings support the conclusion that faces and voices provide valuable information about dominance and mate quality.
    Human Nature 02/2014; 25(2). DOI:10.1007/s12110-014-9194-3 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    • "To measure predisposition toward uncommitted sex, we summed the attitudinal and desire components of the SOI-R (Penke & Asendorpf, 2008). Lastly, we used self-reported number of sex partners in the past year (Faurie, Pontier, & Raymond, 2004; Hodges-Simeon et al., 2011) to measure mating success. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although recent research has increasingly focused on human sexual selection, important questions remain concerning the relative influence of individual traits on success in competition for mates and the mechanisms, form and direction of these sexual selective pressures. Here, we explore sexual selection on men’s traits by ascertaining men’s dominance and attractiveness from male and female acquaintances. On a large American university campus, 63 men from two social fraternities provided anthropometric measurements, facial photographs, voice recordings, and reported mating success (number of sexual partners). These men also assessed each other’s dominance, and 72 women from two socially affiliated sororities assessed the men’s attractiveness. We measured facial masculinity from inter-landmark distances and vocal masculinity from acoustic parameters. We additionally obtained facial and vocal attractiveness and dominance ratings from unfamiliar observers. Results indicate that dominance and the traits associated with it predict men’s mating success, but attractiveness and the traits associated with it do not. These findings indicate that male contests strongly influence men’s mating success in this population and suggest that similar conditions may have existed over human evolution.
    Evolution and Human Behavior 05/2013; 34:334-341. DOI:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.05.004 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    • "Some authors use short sounds with neutral content, such as numbers (e.g., from 1 to 10; Hughes et al., 2002, and subsequent work), while others use neutral sentences such as the Rainbow passage (see Puts, Gaulin, & Verdolini, 2006, and subsequent work) or the time of day (e.g., " it's fifteen minutes to three, " used by Lander, 2008). Connoted sentences have also been chosen, such as the equivalent of " hello " (Apicella & Feinberg, 2009), " I really like you/I really don't like you " (Jones, Feinberg, Debruine, Little, & Vukovic, 2008; Vukovic et al., 2008), and even free speech sentences (Fischer et al., 2011; Hodges-Simeon et al., 2011; Puts, 2005). Still others use monophthong vowel sounds (e.g., /a/ and /i/ in English). "
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    ABSTRACT: Voice attractiveness is a relatively new area of research. Some aspects of the methodology used in this domain deserve particular attention. Especially, the duration of voice samples is often neglected as a factor and happens to be manipulated without the perceptual consequences of these manipulations being known. Moreover, the type of voice stimulus varies from a single vowel to complex sentences. The aim of this experiment was to investigate the extent to which stimulus duration (nonmanipulated vs. normalized) and type (vowel vs. word) influence perceived voice attractiveness. Twenty-seven male and female raters made attractiveness judgments of 30 male and female voice samples. Voice samples included a single vowel /a/, a three-vowel series /i a o/, and the French word "bonjour" (i.e., "hello"). These samples were presented in three conditions: nonmanipulated, shortened, and lengthened duration. Duration manipulation was performed using the pitch synchronous overlap and add (PSOLA) algorithm implemented in Praat. Results for the effect of stimulus type showed that word length samples were more attractive to the opposite sex than vowels. Results for the effect of duration showed that the nonmanipulated sound sample duration was not predictive of perceived attractiveness. Duration manipulation, on the other hand, altered perceived attractiveness for the lengthening condition. In particular, there was a linear decrease in attractiveness as a function of modification percentage (especially for the word, as compared with the vowels). Recommendations for voice sample normalization with the PSOLA algorithm are thus to prefer shortening over lengthening and, if not possible, to limit the extent of duration manipulation-for example, by normalizing to the mean sample duration.
    Behavior Research Methods 12/2012; 45. DOI:10.3758/s13428-012-0275-0 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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