Women's voices sound less Mariella and more Marilyn during ovulation - Science - News - The Independent

Women's voices sound less Mariella and more Marilyn during ovulation

A woman's voice becomes more attractive to both men and women at the point in her monthly cycle when she is at her most fertile, according to a study of vocal changes during ovulation.

If the findings can be replicated, they will add further weight to the theory that women give off subtle and unwitting cues about their fertility as part of an evolutionary battle of the sexes centred on attractiveness and fidelity.

The research also found that men tend to find higher-pitched female voices more attractive: so the idea is that a woman's voice would sound less like Mariella Frostrup and more like Marilyn Monroe at a certain time of the month.

Unlike most mammals, human females show no obvious signs of oestrus – the point when they ovulate and are at their most fertile – but some scientists believe there may be hidden signals that men, and other women, can subconsciously identify.

Nathan Pipitone and Gordon Gallup, of the State University of New York in Albany, investigated vocal attractiveness by recording female volunteers counting from one to 10 at four different points in their menstrual cycle, which they categorised as low to high risk of conception.

They then asked a panel of men and women to listen to the recorded voices and give their unbiased assessment as to whether they sounded attractive or not. Both sexes judged the women's voices to be sexiest when they were recorded at the times during their menstrual cycle when they were at their most fertile.

"The results showed a significant increase in voice attractiveness ratings as the risk of conception increased across the menstrual cycle in naturally cycling women. There was no effect for women using hormonal contraceptives," the scientists said. "More work is needed to identify the biological mechanisms that underlie these perceptual differences, but growing evidence points to the impact of hormones on the larynx as being the source of these changes," they say in the study, to be published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour.

A separate study by Gregory Bryant and Martie Haselton, of the University of California in Los Angeles, investigates the pitch of 33 women's voices at various points in the menstrual cycle. They found that the women tended to become higher pitched at the most fertile point of the cycle, during ovulation.

Previous work on female voice pitch had established that men tend to find higher-pitched voices more attractive. Taken together, the findings of all three studies suggest that the female voice increases in pitch at the most fertile moment of the monthly cycle.

The fact that men notice differences in vocal attractiveness suggests there is a subtle evolutionary battle of the sexes going on, Dr Gallup told New Scientist magazine. As women evolve ever more efficient ways to conceal fertility, men become increasingly sensitive to the small and subtle changes that take place.

Other scientists have documented changes to body scents, flirtatious behaviour and style of dress that they believe are also used as clues to a woman's fertility status. For instance, Geoffrey Millar, of the University of New Mexico, has shown that lap dancers tend to be given bigger tips by male customers when the women are ovulating. "The voice changes might explain some of the shift in lap dancer tip earnings. Dancers certainly chat with their customers," Dr Millar told New Scientist.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special needs assistants Jobs i...

Nursery Nurse

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Bristol: Nursery nurse jobs in Chippenham...

Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week