Dr. Feinberg

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Come join Psi Chi in Room HHB 5045 (Human Health Building across the P-1 parking lot) Dr. Feinberg is presenting his research on Vocal Indicators of the Human Body Size. Below is an abstract from his research. Hope to see you there!

Abstract: Humans evaluate potential mates, friends, and rivals using putative vocal indicators of body size. Here I present findings from an ongoing meta-analysis showing that formant frequencies are a reliable predictor of men’s height, but reported relationships between voice pitch and body size are very weak and may reflect publication bias more than an actual relationship. Nevertheless, more than forty years of research demonstrate that despite that there is no reliable relationship between voice pitch and body size, listeners still associate low voice-pitch with tallness. Thus, it is thought that voice-pitch confounds accurate height assessment. By using natural and synthesized speech sans pitch, we performed a knockout test of this hypothesis. Surprisingly, accuracy of body-size assessments increased in the presence rather than the absence of voice-pitch. Amplitude, resolution, and clarity differences between voiced and unvoiced speech did not cause this effect. Higher harmonic density slightly increased size-assessment accuracy from voiced speech, but not enough to fully explain our results. Accuracy gained by associating pitch with size outweighed costs of conflating these disparate traits, helping to explain why the use of voice-pitch as an indicator of size has not been selected against in humans.