New York: Candidates with deeper voices are more likely to win elections, especially when paired against a male opponent, as voters associate lower-pitched voices with strength and competence, say two new studies.
"Our analyses of both real-life elections and data from experiments show that candidates with lower-pitched voices are generally more successful at the polls," said corresponding author on both studies Casey Klofstad, associate professor of political science at University of Miami in Florida.
The first study, published online in Political Psychology, showed that candidates who ran in the 2012 US House of Representatives elections and had lower voices were more likely to win their elections.
However, when the researchers took into account the sex of the candidate and his or her challenger, the results turned a little more complex.
When facing male opponents, candidates with lower voices won a larger vote share.
But, when facing female opponents, candidates with higher voices were more successful and particularly so in the case of male candidates.
"As individuals with lower voices have higher levels of testosterone, and as testosterone correlates with physical and social aggressiveness, it could be that male candidates with lower voices are perceived as too aggressive when paired against a female opponent," Klofstad said.
The second study was published online in the open-access journal PLOS ONE used an experiment to examine why voters prefer leaders with lower voices.
In the experiment Klofstad and his colleagues asked study participants to listen to pairs of recorded voices that had been manipulated to vary only in pitch.
The participants were then asked which voice of each pair was stronger, more competent, older, and which voice they would vote for.
The results of the experiment showed that speakers with lower voices were perceived as stronger, more competent, and older.
The researchers also found that the influence of perception of age on vote choice is the weakest of the three.