The role of sex-related voice variation in children’s gender-role stereotype attributions

Cartei, Valentina, Banerjee, Robin, Hardouin, Loic and Reby, David (2019) The role of sex-related voice variation in children’s gender-role stereotype attributions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology (37). pp. 396-409. ISSN 0261-510X

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In the absence of clear sex differences in vocal anatomy, the expression of gender in prepubertal children’s voices has a strong behavioural dimension. However, whether children are sensitive to this gender-related variation in the voice and use it to make inferences about their peers’ masculinity and femininity remains unexplored. Using a cross-modal matching task, thirty-one 7- to 8-year-olds and forty-two adults were asked to associate prototypical voices of boys and girls, and their re-synthesized masculinized and feminized versions, to fictional stereotypically masculine, gender-neutral, and stereotypically feminine child characters. We found that listeners spontaneously associated stereotypically masculine and feminine descriptors of a child character with masculinized voices and feminized voices, respectively. Adults made overall more stereotypical associations and were less influenced by character sex than children. Our observations highlight for the first time the contribution of acoustic cues to gender stereotyping from childhood, and its potential implications for the gender schema literature.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > QZ Psychology
Depositing User: Valentina Cartei
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 11:48
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 11:48

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Voice and Sex Stereotypes: a development perspectiveG2054LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2016-396