Physiological and perceptual correlates of masculinity in children’s voices

Cartei, Valentina, Banerjee, Robin, Garnham, Alan, Oakhill, Jane, Roberts, Lucy, Anns, Sophie, Bond, Rod and Reby, David (2020) Physiological and perceptual correlates of masculinity in children’s voices. Hormones and Behavior, 117. ISSN 0018-506X

[img] PDF (accepted paper) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (2MB)
[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivatives.

Download (2MB)


Low frequency components (i.e. a low pitch (F0) and low formant spacing (ΔF)) signal high salivary testosterone and height in adult male voices and are associated with high masculinity attributions by unfamiliar listeners (in both men and women). However, the relation between the physiological, acoustic and perceptual dimensions of speakers’ masculinity prior to puberty remains unknown. In this study, 110 pre-pubertal children (58 girls), aged 3 to 10, were recorded as they described a cartoon picture. 315 adults (182 women) rated children’s perceived masculinity from the voice only after listening to the speakers’ audio recordings. On the basis of their voices alone, boys who had higher salivary testosterone levels were rated as more masculine and the relation between testosterone and perceived masculinity was partially mediated by F0. The voices of taller boys were also rated as more masculine, but the relation between height and perceived masculinity was not mediated by the considered acoustic parameters, indicating that acoustic cues other than F0 and ΔF may signal stature. Both boys and girls who had lower F0, were also rated as more masculine, while ΔF did not affect ratings. These findings highlight the interdependence of physiological, acoustic and perceptual dimensions, and suggest that inter-individual variation in male voices, particularly F0, may advertise hormonal masculinity from a very early age.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Masculinity; Height; Testosterone; Voice; Formants; Resonance; Fundamental Frequency; Pitch; Children; Gender development
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Valentina Cartei
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 18:09
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2019 08:00

View download statistics for this item

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