Human listeners can accurately judge strength and height relative to self from aggressive roars and speech

Raine, Jordan, Pisanski, Katarzyna, Oleszkiewicz, Anna, Simner, Julia and Reby, David (2018) Human listeners can accurately judge strength and height relative to self from aggressive roars and speech. iScience, 4. pp. 273-280. ISSN 2589-0042

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Abstract

While animal vocalisations and human speech are known to communicate physical formidability, no previous study has examined whether human listeners can assess the strength or body size of vocalisers relative to their own, either from speech or from nonverbal vocalisations. Here, although men tended to underestimate women’s formidability, and women to overestimate men’s, listeners judged relative strength and height from aggressive roars and aggressive speech accurately. For example, when judging roars, male listeners accurately identified vocalisers who were substantially stronger than themselves in 88% of trials, and never as weaker. For male vocalisers only, roars functioned to exaggerate the expression of threat compared to aggressive speech, as men were rated as relatively stronger when producing roars. These results indicate that, like other mammals, the acoustic structure of human aggressive vocal signals (and in particular nonverbal roars) may have been selected to communicate functional information relevant to listeners’ survival.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 18 May 2018 14:41
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/75937

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