The deep voice of alpha male

May 28, 2010

Men with a deep, masculine voice are seen as more dominant by other men but a man's own dominance - perceived or actual - does not affect how attentive he is to his rivals' voices. His own dominance does however influence how he rates his competitors' dominance: the more dominant he thinks he is, the less dominant he rates his rival's voice. These findings by Sarah Wolff and David Puts, from the Department of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University in the US, are published online in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

This is the first study to look at why men differ in the way they perceive indicators of dominance in others and what causes the variation in the degree to which a man's masculinity affects judgments of his dominance. Specifically, the authors investigated for the first time whether men's own dominance affects their attentiveness to vocal masculinity, a dominance signal, when they assess their competitors. They carried out two studies asking men to rate male vocal recordings which differed in level of masculinity i.e. from low, more masculine voices to higher, less masculine voices.

The first study looked at how participating men rated others' dominance in relation to their self-rated physical dominance in a dating game scenario, based on their competitor's voice recordings. As predicted, more masculine voices were perceived as more dominant. On the whole, men who rated themselves higher in fighting ability, i.e. more dominant, rated other men lower on dominance and reported more sexual partners in the past year. However, men's self-rated physical dominance was not linked to how attentive they were to vocal masculinity when assessing other men's dominance.

The second study examined how objective measures of men's physical dominance including size, strength, testosterone levels and physical aggressiveness influenced dominance ratings. Of these, only testosterone had an effect. Men with either high or low levels perceived other men as more dominant, based on their voice recordings, whereas men with intermediate levels rated other men lower in dominance.

The authors conclude: "Our findings show that vocal masculinity has large effects on the appearance of dominance that are not modulated by the dominance of the perceiver. Variables related to a man's own dominance predict his assessments of other men's dominance, even though they do not predict his attentiveness to vocal masculinity when making these assessments. Future research should examine whether dominance influences assessment of other potential cues, such as facial hair, facial , muscularity, and stature."

Explore further: Religious music brings benefit to seniors' mental health

More information: Wolff SE & Puts DA (2010). Vocal masculinity is a robust dominance signal in men. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology; DOI 10.1007/s00265-010-0981-5

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3.3 / 5 (3) May 28, 2010
It must be tough for males to always try to be the top dog against all the other males. It reminds me of a lot of animals where the males fight each other for the female, often until one or sometimes both of the males are dead. No wonder males die sooner than women.
4 / 5 (3) May 28, 2010
It must be tough for males to always try to be the top dog against all the other males.

My own experiences as a male aside, I think the propensity of this behaviour in animal species of all sorts would indicate that this is a basal drive, and thus, not 'tough' for the male.

As demonstrated by many 'less sentient' species, it is not a conscious decision to compete which drives males, rather a deep-rooted, instinctual inclination towards or enjoyment from succeeding at fighting/mating/sport/argument/earning/etc.

Naturally, males haven't entirely cornered the market on same-gender competition. Though female-female competition tends to represent itself in different ways for different species.

Without the 'top-dog' mentality, our society may be a healthier and more productive environment for everybody, but without that mentality, our society, even our species likely wouldn't exist.

We're in an interesting phase of evolution, where social selection is eclipsing natural selection.
2.4 / 5 (5) May 29, 2010
No we don't! Get me a sandwich woman!

No we don't! Get me a sandwich woman!

What have you been smoking? If you notice, the more women get an equal chance at proving ourself, the more we are showing everyone that women can do almost anything a male can do only we can do it better. It will not be long before women are in control and than maybe we can clean up the mess the males have made. After all, women have been cleaning up after males for ages.

What do you mean "no we don't" Don't what? die earlier? Do you know that at least 150 males die before birth for every 100 girls? Are you aware that even the "Y" chromosome which is male has at least twice the numbers as the "X" and it takes at least one "X" for each gender but even the "male" part of the sperm (the Y) needs a much greater head start as they die faster than the X. Result? It is clear that anything male dies at a higher rate than the female and this holds true throughout life.
2.6 / 5 (5) May 29, 2010

@ Amy 2010

Hahaha missy, present me a woman who was a better mathematician than Carl Friedrich Gauss, a better writer than Shakespeare, a better biologist than Pasteur or Darwin, a better chemist than Mendelev, a better physicist than Einstein, a better strategist than Napoleon, a better statesman than Julius Ceasar, a better painter than Da Vinci, and even a better chef (wait a second, aint you people been cooking for millenia, you should have some experience by now, but surprise surprise, a man can do it better than you) than Ferran Adrià.

Yes you can brag about the cleaning, you people are really great at it, we men must admit.
1.8 / 5 (5) May 29, 2010

And if you hinted that we are a destructive force, we take it as a compliment because we men then, as you say, are responsible for the status of dominance of humanity on earth. Even your puny cells have to destroy glucose and other sources of nutrients in your body by combustion in order to create energy for your puny comments. Likewise, the more we destruct, the more we learn to manipulate the resources around us. WW2 was an atrocity, with more than 80 million deaths, but then they got rid of the depression of the 30's and now we have penicillin, nuclear power and so on. The LHC works the same way. The discovery and use of fire worked the same way. And what part did you girls play on this? None! Because you didn't have the vegetables to meet the unknown - you will just tremble and look very sensible and not touch it, and then when you show up to mop up you brag you could have done it better.
1.8 / 5 (5) May 29, 2010

Your laughable "emancipation" from men and claims of superiority in these modern times will utterly shut your big mouths up as we see no changes as time goes on.
They say behind a great man there is a great woman. But behind a selfish, ignorant and ungrateful woman who thinks she is the centre of the Universe there is an idiot with no vegetables, dead, or in love with her who - let - her be that great, adorable person.
And as Gorbachev said: "They are now turning against me and criticising me, but I was the one who allowed them to talk in the first place."
5 / 5 (1) May 29, 2010
I'm utterly shocked to read some of the comments above. I seriously hope that they are nothing more than failed attempts at humor. (I know that's just the optimist in me.)

Petty bickering about whose gender is better would be laughable if it weren't so lamentable. I'd like to think that in the year 2010 we're beyond trying to subvert an entire group of people - especially a group whose members had no say in their membership to said group. Nobody can help being born the way they are born. Ignorance, however, is a choice.

You should re-evaluate your anachronistic dogma, as well as your priorities. I sincerely wish you luck and opened eyes. *sigh*
not rated yet May 29, 2010
Mister_Sinister WW2 was an atrocity, with more than 80 million deaths

And most of these deaths were males who were killed by other males. The bad part however, is these males did kill a lot of women and children. It would be nice if the males who want to kill would leave women and children out of it and just kill each other. Maybe when enough males have killed each other off, the rest of us can live in peace.
not rated yet May 29, 2010
Maybe when enough males have killed each other off, the rest of us can live in peace.

It would also be the end of the human race. Well, I guess you could have a few generations of cloning, and you would be free of that awful patriarchy.

Any knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, atrocity committing males out there willing to volunteer to end me? I promise I'll kill you after you kill me...

I see my above comment has fallen on blind eyes.
3 / 5 (2) May 29, 2010
Maybe when enough males have killed each other off, the rest of us can live in peace.

It would also be the end of the human race. Well, I guess you could have a few generations of cloning, and you would be free of that awful patriarchy.

Any knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, atrocity committing males out there willing to volunteer to end me? I promise I'll kill you after you kill me...

I see my above comment has fallen on blind eyes.

I do think there are a lot of real MEN around that do not resort to violence like so many MALES do so I do not think we need to worry about that.
5 / 5 (1) May 30, 2010
i would think the "awful patriarchy" is at least partly fueled by a significant amount of females feeling on some instinctive level attracted to power wielding/risktaking (either succeed on top or die)/dangerous men even bad boys, so maybe if women felt more attracted to soft men, evolution would dictate that following generations of men would grow gradually softer, bring on the helium balloons!

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