Deeper-Voiced Women Have Election Advantage

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You vote for politicians based on their views, right? That's how it works in theory. But other factors can sway your vote. Like a politician's voice. Because studies show that the deeper the voice, the more electable the candidate. And not just for men. Deeper voiced women have an advantage over other women, even when they're running for positions traditionally held by women, like the school board or PTA president. So says a study in the journal PLoS ONE. [Rindy C. Anderson and Casey A. Klofstad, Preference for Leaders with Masculine Voices Holds in the Case of Feminine Leadership Roles]

Researchers played undergrads recordings like this. [Women’s voices.] Then they asked the students to vote for one of them for the school board or the PTA. In each mock election, the deeper voiced woman snagged about 70 percent of the votes.

Women's voices naturally deepen with age, so the researchers say we might be biased to select older women as leaders. And previous studies have shown that women with deeper voices are seen as more competent, trustworthy and strong. Margaret Thatcher used that to her advantage—she was famously coached to deepen her voice. Other politicians might do well to follow her lead, when they make their pitch to voters.

—Christopher Intagliata

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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