The influence of powerful speakers is determined by the pitch of their voices, claims a recent study.
Conducted by the University of Illinois, the study finds that people whose voices went down in pitch early on in an interaction are more likely to be seen as dominant and influential than those whose vocal pitch went up early in conversation.
Those viewed as dominant also are more likely to convince others to go along with their ideas than those seen as less dominant.
However, in another report based on the same data, it was found that the dominant participants were not considered prestigious, esteemed or admirable by their peers. Those judged to be admirable, but not dominant, tend to influence others better.
“What excites me about this research is that we now know a little bit more about how humans use their voices to signal status,” said Joey Cheng, who led the research with colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.
Cheng noted that this study adds to the evidence that humans, like many other animals, use their voices to signal and assert dominance over others.
The study is reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
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