lectures1011 - More about sex And other human attributes...

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More about sex And other human attributes
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Sexy voices and the media Evolutionarily-based vocal cues to reproductive fitness are subtle. Media representations of sexy voices are not. Attractive does not necessarily equal sexy. Attractive voices are usually described as resonant, low to moderate in average pitch, and good articulation, and without shrillness, nasality, or extreme pitch modulations. In contrast, when asked to speak in a sexy manner, most speakers (male and female) will reduce their pitch (about 20 Hz on average), increase breathiness, and speak much more slowly than usual. Slow talking, low-pitched, soft, hoarse or breathy utterances = sex appeal
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Sexy voices Studies of sexy voice have focused on female speakers. Gaps in the female glottis during phonation: May arise from anatomy, or could be caused by “intentional” incomplete adduction of the vocal folds Aerodynamically inefficient; does not increase intelligibility May be used to communicate intimacy by imitating the sound of sexual arousal Stereotypically sexy female phonation may be part of a ritualized courtship display.
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Courtship displays in other animals In Barbary macaques, female copulation calls are longer, slower, and higher in F0 when the female is most fertile. Playback experiments show that males can perceive and use this acoustic information to increase their reproductive success.
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A more moderate view A sexy female voice is simply a voice that displays extreme amounts of female voice characteristics. Thus, stereotypically sexy voices are marked by: extreme intonation contours extra high pitch extra breathiness an extra slow speaking rate These characteristics represent western cultural standards for a female voice, but are exaggerated.
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Mature vs. childlike sexiness Of course, some sexy voices differ from this stereotype. Marlene Dietrich Lauren Bacall May need a distinction between the “child-like” sexy voices belonging to characters like Marilyn Monroe, and “mature” sexy voices. This distinction appears to be based mostly on F0, with more mature sexy voices characterized by a lower F0, corresponding to greater age.
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Sexy male voices Sexiness in male voices has not been studied in similar detail. Informal examination of stereotypically sexy male voices suggests that similar cues (low pitch, slow speaking rate, breathiness) are in operation for both male and female voices. In males, lower F0 is associated with higher testosterone levels. Female listeners agree that males with lower F0s are likely to be more attractive, more muscular, and have chest hair. Because pitch acts as a cue to sexual maturity and reproductive capability, female preferences for male voices with low fundamental frequencies are potentially adaptive.
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Synthesis studies Male voices with a lower F0 are more attractive to females than the same voice with a higher F0
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