Dec 3, 2008

Lifestyle - Women prefer Men with deep voices

WASHINGTON: It's a research which shows why women still swoon over Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan's baritone voice - deep bass indicates virility
and strength.

Scientists have carried out the study of a remote tribe of hunter-gatherers in Africa, the Hadza, and found that women think men with deeper voices are not only better hunters but are also suitable for marriage.

In their study, the scientists, led by Coren Apicella of Harvard University, tested vocal preferences of 88 Hadza men and women. They heard a member of the opposite sex saying the Swahili word "hujambo" -- loosely translated as hello -- in a computer-altered high and low register.

Women were asked whether the voice belonged to someone likely to make a good hunter and husband, while men rated the voices in terms of skill as a forager and suitability as a wife, the New Scientist' reported.

Hadza men judged deeper-voiced women to be better foragers, but they fancied the highest-pitched women. Women judged men with deep voices to be better hunters, but offered no clear preference for what a husband should sound like, the researchers found.

When they started analysing the data, the scientists realised that about half the women she tested had been nursing children. When they divided women by this characteristic, a trend emerged -- nursing women favoured higher-pitched tones, while fertile women showed a slight preference for the deeper voices, the study revealed.

When Hadza women start breast-feeding, their foraging falls off. "They rely on men a lot more to bring in food and resources. May be a higher-pitched voice is signalling pro- social behaviour," Apicella said.

The study has been published in the 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B' journal.

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