If you had any doubt that a pretty girl makes a guy do some dumb things, here’s the latest example: Heterosexual guys use a “sing-songy” voice when they’re around ladies they like, according to new research from U.K. researchers. When the men were talking to women they found less attractive, however, they used a deeper-pitched voice.
It’s a somewhat counterintuitive finding — you’d think guys would put on their best Barry White baritone to impress the ladies — but lead researcher Juan David Leongómez explains this mysterious vocal phenomenon in the press release like so:
For men, it is important to sound masculine, which is manifested in a deeper voice pitch. However, extreme masculinity is associated with negative traits in a partner, like a tendency for increased aggressiveness and promiscuity.
This puts men in a dilemma, because they have to convey two seemingly contradictory messages at the same time: ‘I am a masculine man’, and ‘I’d be a good partner and father’.
The solution may be to vary their pitch - which would explain the sing-songy quality of the voices we observed in men speaking to attractive women.
Sounds weird, but it seems to work. When researchers played the voice recordings of a man speaking to a woman he found attractive, the (female) listeners rated the voice as more attractive than a recording of that same guy talking to a woman he considered less attractive. What’s more, the men spoke in Czech and the women listening were British, so they didn’t understand the words; they were judging only by the sound of the men’s voices.
And therein lies the lesson brought to us by this new research: To better evaluate whether or not a guy is into them, women would do better to ignore what they’re saying and pay closer attention to how they say it. Also: Adam Sandler’s Opera Man may have mistaken “Weekend Update” host Kevin Nealon for a pretty girl.