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Is there an evolutionary psychology explanation why children have high pitched voices?

Is there an evolutionary psychology explanation why children have high pitched voices?

I have come across purely mechanical reasons that explain why children have piping/high pitched voices - length of trachea etc. However, I find myself wondering whether there isn't a deeper evolutionary reason why the mechanics evolved that way. Is there a Kinderschema type explanation for this? I have attempted to find information on the subject and turned up nothing - perhaps because I am simply not searching for the right thing.


Children have high pitched voices relative to adults because their vocal folds are shorter and physics demands that short vocal folds result in higher pitches. The format frequencies of children are also higher than adults due to shorter vocal tract lengths.

I think your question is, is there a speech communication reason for the vocal folds and vocal tract of children to be shorter than adults to which I would argue that it is unlikely. While it is possible to be grown with adult sized features (e.g., the inner ear and the middle ear ossicles), generally babies are smaller than adults. There would need to be a strong evolutionary advantage to being born with a really long vocal tract. Second, from what I can piece together, (e.g., this article) a shorter vocal tract is desirable for suckling. Therefore I would conclude that evolutionary speaking babies have shorter vocal tracts because they are smaller than adults and if the vocal tract was longer it would make it harder to feed.


High pitch sound is a shortwave vibration which travels longer distances than the low pitch sound. It also requires less energy to be produced. So it makes sense that children are able to scream long and loud enough to ask for help.


1. Familiar voices jump out

Familiar voices seem to jump out of the background hubbub automatically at us.

Participants in a recent study listened to their spouse’s voice when it was mixed up with a stranger’s voice (Johnsrude et al., 2013). They found it easier to pick out what their spouse was saying compared with the stranger.

The punch line is that people also found it much easier to ignore their spouse’s voice when they wanted to.

So, familiar voices are easier to hear, and also easier to tune out.


Evolutionary Psychology and Feminism

This article provides a historical context of evolutionary psychology and feminism, and evaluates the contributions to this special issue of Sex Roles within that context. We briefly outline the basic tenets of evolutionary psychology and articulate its meta-theory of the origins of gender similarities and differences. The article then evaluates the specific contributions: Sexual Strategies Theory and the desire for sexual variety evolved standards of beauty hypothesized adaptations to ovulation the appeal of risk taking in human mating understanding the causes of sexual victimization and the role of studies of lesbian mate preferences in evaluating the framework of evolutionary psychology. Discussion focuses on the importance of social and cultural context, human behavioral flexibility, and the evidentiary status of specific evolutionary psychological hypotheses. We conclude by examining the potential role of evolutionary psychology in addressing social problems identified by feminist agendas.

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Here's What Makes A Voice Sexy (Or Deeply Unsexy)

It’s a good time to be alive if you’re particularly turned on by voices. There’s audio erotica apps like Dipsea and Quinn. There’s ASMR that’s sexual. There are videos of Tom Hardy reading bedtime stories available for free on YouTube. (Yes, those videos are ostensibly for kids, but let’s be real: You know it’s mostly adults who are tuning in.)

Voices do a lot of heavy lifting when we’re dating, too. Studies have shown that people subconsciously lower their voices when trying to attract a person they’re interested in.

What is it about a voice that can get some of us going? The depth, the timbre? Why do we hear a rich, buttery voice on an otherwise run-of-the-mill NPR show and jump to conclusions about the attractiveness of the person speaking? What does it mean to have a f**kable voice?

Before you shake your head at the absurdity of having a voice so good, you’d screw it if possible, imagine, say, Jon Hamm telling you exactly what he wants to do to you in bed. Now imagine Jared Kushner, a man whose voice has been likened to “a young Michael Cera” and “a sassy Kermit the Frog,” telling you the very same thing. Completely different experience, right?

Let’s take this further, in a subjective (but ultimately correct) examination of sexy voices:

    voice? Definitely screwable. reading anything — hell, even an Applebee’s menu. Yes, please.
  • The voices of most white dudes who have a podcast? No, thanks.
  • Leonard Cohen crooning about Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel or just talking? Yes! deep British accent? Sex on a stick. narrating some bird species’ weird mating ritual on “Planet Earth”? I’m sorry, Sir David, but no. aka Bob from “Bob’s Burger” and the lead on “Archer”? Might be the most f**kable voice yet!

“There are definitely those voices you hear that just get you going,” said Estevan Q., a Los Angeles-based writer and co-host of the pop culture podcast Your Gay Cousins.

“For me, there’s a certain texture and rhythm to a guy’s voice that can be so attractive,” Estevan said. “It isn’t necessarily about a voice being deep, but one that’s a bit gravelly, yet breathy — sort of how I imagine whiskey might sound if it had a voice.”

His fave? Armie Hammer. “He recorded the audiobook of my favorite novel, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and oh my God, it was so hot to have him in my ears,” Estevan said. “His husky voice just sounds like it wants to teach you things.”

There’s something conspiratorial and intimate about hearing a sexy-voiced person speak they might be reading the movie times or something equally mundane but you’re drawn in by that honeyed voice, and soon, your mind trails off to much naughtier places.

There needs to be a dating app where you can hear a sample of the person’s voice because that’s 50% of my attraction right there

&mdash DIAMANTE (@DIAMANTEband) October 7, 2018

Amanda Montell, a reporter and author of “Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language,” even struggled to end things with a guy because his voice (or at least his accent) was so hot.

“I once continued dating this dude from Dublin for weeks longer than I really intended to because his Irish accent was so irresistible,” she said. “Dating someone with a European accent feels just as prestigious as dating someone who’s extraordinarily physically hot.”

She’s had bad luck in this area, too.

“I also once dated a guy whose voice sounded exactly like Kevin Spacey’s, which was a turn-off only because it’s not all that sexy to be romantically involved with someone whose voice is a dead ringer for a reported pedophile,” she said.

Scientifically speaking, what makes a voice sexy?

So what exactly sets a sexy voice apart from others? Studies show that women tend to prefer men with deep voices, which are linked to higher testosterone levels and general reproductive prowess. Men, meanwhile, are drawn to women with high-pitched voices, which are associated with high estrogen levels, perhaps serving as a cue to a woman’s health and fertility.

However, a 2010 study found that women actually affect an entirely different voice around a person they’re attracted to. Rather than a high-pitched, girlish voice, women drop their tones to a lower, sexier register. (Think: Lauren Bacall, Scarlett Johansson or Elaine Benes and the faux-sexy voice she uses to trick Jerry on “Seinfeld.”)

“A sexy voice voice is warm and inviting. It feels as if it is spoken from the chest, rather than the head. Its tones are pleasing and not at all nasal.”

“There is a stereotype of what is a sexual voice in our culture ― a low, breathy voice,” said Susan Hughes, the study’s author and an expert in evolutionary psychology.

Unscientifically speaking, a deep, typically sexy voice conveys richness, wisdom and strength.

Essentially, then, what we consider a sexy voice is partly determined by biology, and partly determined by society’s exaggerated ideas around voices, said Jean Berko Gleason, coauthor of the textbook “Psycholinguistics” and professor emerita at Boston University. (The husky, throaty voice isn’t likely to come off as sexy in Japan, she said, where women are expected to speak at the high end of their vocal range.)

“Overall, though, a sexy voice is warm and inviting,” she said. “It feels as if it is spoken from the chest, rather than the head. Its tones are pleasing and not at all nasal.” If it sounds like you’re talking through your nose, that kills any chance of having a sexy voice, she added.

Berko Gleason pointed to Viola Davis’ low, measured tones as an example of what might be considered a standard for a sexy voice. Lauren Bacall seductively teaching Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in the 1944 film “To Have and Have Not” is also pretty much a masterclass in sexy voice affectation. (The film’s director believed Bacall originally sounded “reedy” so, during production, she read aloud to herself, training to make her voice “lower, more masculine, sexier.”)

For an example of a sexy male voice, the professor went with a classic — James Earl Jones — as well as Barack Obama. Indeed, the former president has a voice so cool, calm and (let’s face it) jarringly sexy, it alone managed to lure in none other than Michelle Obama (née Robinson) when the pair first crossed paths in 1989.

As the former FLOTUS wrote in her memoir “Becoming,” she didn’t understand the hype about the new cute guy at her Chicago law firm. There was a “whiff of geekiness” to his staff photo, she wrote, though “his bio said he was originally from Hawaii, which at least made him a comparatively exotic geek.” (Ouch.)

But then, fatefully, she heard that voice.

“I made a quick obligatory phone call to introduce myself,” Michelle wrote. She was “pleasantly startled by the voice on the other end of the line ― a rich, even sexy, baritone that didn’t seem to match his photo one bit.”

Damn. And they said Reagan was “the great communicator.”

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups is a series tackling everything you didn’t learn about sex in school — beyond the birds and the bees. Keep checking back for more expert-based articles and personal stories.


How Evolution Designed Your Fear

T he most effective monsters of horror fiction mirror ancestral dangers to exploit evolved human fears. Some fears are universal, some are near-universal, and some are local. The local fears—the idiosyncratic phobias such as the phobia of moths, say—tend to be avoided by horror writers, directors, and programmers. Horror artists typically want to target the greatest possible audience and that means targeting the most common fears. As the writer Thomas F. Monteleone has observed, “a horror writer has to have an unconscious sense or knowledge of what’s going to be a universal ‘trigger.’ ” 1 All common fears can be located within a few biologically constrained categories or domains.

Over evolutionary time, humans and their ancestors have faced potentially lethal danger in the domains of predation, intraspecific violence, contamination-contagion, status loss, and in the domain of dangerous nonliving environmental features. 2-5 In other words, they faced danger from predatory animals (ranging from mammalian carnivores to venomous animals such as spiders and snakes) from hostile members of their own species from invisible pathogens, bacteria and viruses from loss of status, ostracization, and ultimately social exclusion, which in ancestral environments could mean death and they faced the risk of lethal injury following dangerous weather events such as violent thunderstorms, falls from cliffs, and other potentially hazardous topographical features. The selection pressures from these types of danger have resulted in domain-specificity in the reactivity of the fear system, meaning that the system has evolved special sensitivity toward such dangers. Sometimes such sensitivity allows the fear system to unreasonably expand a category and target an innocuous object, such as expanding the category of “dangerous animals” to include moths. In the domain of survival the golden rule is “better safe than sorry.”

Timo Paschke / EyeEm / Getty Images

The most basic, universal, genetically hardwired fears are the fears of sudden, loud noises and of looming objects—those are the fears that we aim to evoke when we hide behind a door, waiting to spook an unsuspecting friend by jumping at them with a roar. Sudden, loud noises and looming objects will cause an involuntary startle response in humans and in many other species as well. You can sneak up behind a rat and yell at it, and its reaction will be similar to your own, if somebody sneaks up behind you and yells at you. You can also try the experiment with a dog or a squirrel or a human infant it’s guaranteed to work. The startle reflex is primitive and swift, and very effective in orienting the organism toward, and preparing it for, danger. Horror video games and horror films, in particular, exploit this innate fear when they resort to “jump scares,” such as having a monster jump out of a closet without any warning and frightening the viewer or player.

Not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired—we need to learn what to be afraid of.

Other fears are universal but relatively transient. As developmental psychologists have demonstrated, children reliably develop highly specific fears along a predictable developmental trajectory. And as evolutionary psychologists have demonstrated, these predictable fears emerge when children are most vulnerable to the dangers targeted by the fears—or more precisely when children would have been most vulnerable to such dangers in ancestral environments, the kinds of environments in which our species evolved. These environments in significant respects diverged from modern environments, but the fears persist. For infants, incapable of self-propelled motion and self-defense, the most dangerous situations—in ancestral environments and now—are the absence of caregivers and the presence of potentially hostile strangers. Hence infants reliably develop separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, which persist until the toddler years. 3 As children begin to move about on their own, they reliably develop fear of heights. At around age 4–6, as children begin exploring their environments more extensively and thus become more vulnerable to predation, they typically become obsessed with death, afraid of monsters lurking in the dark, and preoccupied with dangerous animals such as lions and tigers. In middle to late childhood, fears of injury, accidents, and contagion emerge, and in late childhood and particularly early adolescence, social threats become “salient” to children—children tend to become highly anxious of losing status, losing friends, being ostracized, and so on, at precisely the developmental stage where peers begin to be more important to them than parents, and when their major challenge is to “find a specific social niche and build stable networks of reciprocity.” 3

The evolutionary logic behind this preset developmental schedule is clear: Children evolved to develop domain-specific fears at the phase where they would typically encounter, or be particularly vulnerable to, such evolutionarily recurrent dangers. Some people may feel that they grow out of these fears—that they no longer need to check under the bed for lurking monsters before they go to sleep—but most of the fears begin in childhood and persist in somewhat modified forms throughout life. 3 Stephen King, in a foreword to a collection of stories, told readers that when he goes to bed at night, he is still “at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blankets after the lights go out. I’m not a child anymore but . I don’t like to sleep with one leg sticking out . The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” 6 King is joking, but all the same, who hasn’t at some point conceded to a fearful, apparently irrational impulse from the limbic system, an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark or to keep the feet inside the bed covers when we’re alone? Not that we believe in ghosts or monsters or zombies, naturally, but . better safe than sorry, right? We may rationally dismiss the ostensibly childish fear targets—the monsters, the creepy strangers, the dangerous animals— but they at the very least live on in horror stories, even horror stories for adults, featuring giant monsters, psychos in hockey masks, and creepy-crawlies hiding in the dark.

PeopleImages / Getty Images

Those fears that are near-universal are known as “prepared fears.” 7 They are not hardwired in the same way as the fears of sudden, loud noises and looming objects are. Nobody learns to flinch at a rapidly oncoming basketball. Prepared fears are innate, though, in the sense that they are genetically transmitted but require environmental input for their activation. The human fear system, in this aspect, is relatively open-ended—that is, it is set up for environmental calibration. The evolutionary logic underlying this design characteristic is as follows: Humans evolved to be adaptable. 8 Our species thrives in all climate zones, from the tropical to the arctic. Yet while some dangers are constant across time and space—the danger of choking, say, or of drowning—there is some environmental variation in threat distribution. There’s no sense for an Inuit child in being afraid of tigers or scorpions, whereas a child from rural India doesn’t need to worry about polar bears. And because our genes can’t “know” in what sort of climate and ecology we’ll grow up, those genes make us able and eager to learn about threats in our local environments. Humans quickly absorb local culture, including norms, language, knowledge about dangers, the sorts of things people in your culture consider edible or not, and so on. Learning, in fact, is an “evolutionarily derived adaptation to cope with environmental changes that occur within the life span of individuals and allows individual organisms to tailor their behavior to the specific environmental niche they occupy.” 9

Who hasn’t at some point conceded to an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark?

So, because different environments have somewhat different dangers, not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired. We need to learn what to be afraid of, but such learning takes place within a biologically constrained possibility space. While different environments feature different threats, some threats have been evolutionarily persistent enough, and serious enough, to have left an imprint on our genome as prepared fears, as potentialities that may be activated during an individual’s life in response to personal or vicarious experience, or culturally transmitted information. This explains why there may be surface variation in people’s fears but a stable, underlying structure of fear distribution. The 2012 ChildFund Alliance report “Small Voices, Big Dreams,” which quantified children’s fears and dreams based on responses from 5,100 individuals from 44 countries, found that the most common fear among children across developing and developed countries is the fear of “dangerous animals and insects.” 10 Even children growing up in industrialized, urban environments free of nonhuman predators easily acquire fear of dangerous animals because such prepared learning is part and parcel of human nature. One study asked suburban American kids about their fears and found that they do not “fear the things they have been taught to be careful about,” such as “street traffic,” but “claim that the things to be afraid of are mammals and reptiles (most frequently): snakes, lions, and tigers.” 11

What Technology Can’t Change About Happiness

In 2014, researchers at the University of Warwick in England announced they had found a strong association between a gene mutation identified with happiness and well-being. It’s called 5-HTTLPR and it affects the way our body metabolizes the neurotransmitter serotonin. READ MORE

Prepared fears include the fear of snakes, spiders, heights, blood, closed-in spaces, the dark, thunder, public or open spaces, social scrutiny, and deep water. 5, 7, 12 Those are typical phobia objects, quite easy to acquire and very difficult to extinguish. A phobia can be defined as “fear of a situation that is out of proportion to its danger,” 13 which suggests the very weirdness of phobias: They are extremely real, often crippling, to sufferers, even though phobias either don’t correspond to real-world dangers or exaggerate actual risks wildly. Almost nobody dies from being bitten by snakes or spiders—the most common phobia objects—in the industrialized world. According to recent statistics from the National Safety Council of the United States, the lifetime odds of dying from a motor vehicle accident for a person born in 2007 were 1 in 88.

In contrast, the odds of dying from contact with venomous spiders were 1 in 483,457, and the odds of dying from contact with venomous snakes or lizards were 1 in 552,522. 14 We should be terrified of cars and worry much less about snakes and spiders. But since the threats targeted by phobias have been lethal to humans and our hominin (and mammalian) ancestors for millions of years, we are still born with the evolved propensity to easily acquire fear of such targets.

A list of Stephen King’s “personal terrors” was published in 1973. 15 This list strikingly reflects the species-typical distribution of evolved fear objects much more so than it reflects the objects, creatures, and situations that a 20th-century inhabitant of Maine ought to fear:

1. Fear of the dark
2. Fear of squishy things
3. Fear of deformity
4. Fear of snakes
5. Fear of rats
6. Fear of closed-in spaces
7. Fear of insects (especially spiders, flies, and beetles)
8. Fear of death
9. Fear of others (paranoia)
10. Fear for someone else

Personal terrors they may be, but King’s list could be anybody’s list—an American’s list, an Asian’s list, an African’s list, a European’s list. It could be the list of someone living 1,000 or 50,000 years ago. Individuals of the species Homo sapiens tend to be afraid of the same things. People in the industrialized world may no longer face the threat of predation from carnivores, and we may no longer be in any real danger from venomous spiders and snakes, but these animals live on as ghosts in the human central nervous system.

Mathias Clasen is an associate professor of literature and media in the Department of English, Aarhus University.

From Why Horror Seduces by Mathias Clasen. Copyright 2017 by Oxford University Press.
All rights reserved.

1. Wiater, S., Ed. Dark Thoughts on Writing: Advice and Commentary from Fifty Masters of Fear and Suspense Underwood, New York, NY (1997).

2. Barrett, H.C. Adaptations to predators and prey. In Buss, D.M. (Ed.) The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Vol. 1, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ (2005).

3. Boyer, P. & Bergstrom, B. Threat-detection in child development: An evolutionary perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 35, 1034–1041 (2011).

4. Buss, D.M. Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind Pearson Allyn & Bacon, Boston (2012).

5. Marks, I.M. & Nesse, R.M. Fear and fitness: An evolutionary analysis of anxiety disorders. Ethology and Sociobiology 15, 247–261 (1994).

6. King, S. “Foreword” In Night Shift Hodder and Stoughton, London (1978).

7. Seligman, M.E.P. Phobias and preparedness. Behavior Therapy 2, 307–320 (1971).

8. Wade, N. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors Penguin, New York, NY (2006).

9. Öhman, A. & Mineka, S. Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning. Psychological Review 108, 483–522 (2001).

10. ChildFund Alliance. Wiseman, H. (Ed.) 2012. Small Voices, Big Dreams 2012: A Global Survey of Children’s Hopes, Aspirations, and Fears Richmond, VA (2012).

11. Maurer, A. What children fear. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 106, 265–277 (1965).

12. Dozier, R.W. Fear Itself: The Origin and Nature of the Powerful Emotion that Shapes Our Lives and Our World St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY (1998).

13. Marks, I.M. Fears, Phobias, and Rituals: Panic, Anxiety, and Their Disorders Oxford University Press, New York, NY (1987).

14. National Safety Council. Injury Facts 2011 Edition National Safety Council, Itasca, IL (2011).


Introduction

The novel coronavirus and the disease that it causes (i.e., COVID-19) created a social and economic upheaval unseen in the past half a century or more. The political and social responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, have both had major effects on economic activity, public policy, civic engagement, and population health almost all over the world (Bedford et al., 2020 Weible et al., 2020). Being under direct human control, such policy responses (versus inaction) have the potential to diminish the impact of the virus or to amplify its disastrous effects.

We review the evidence on cross-national differences between male and female leadership during the pandemic and discuss the possible evolutionary�velopmental and psychobehavioral mechanisms underlying such differences (Figure 1). Based on a review of relevant research in evolutionary science, psychology, behavioral science, anthropology, political science, economics, behavioral genetics, and developmental, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience, we also present the sexually dimorphic leadership specialization hypothesis as one of the possible explanations for these cross-national patterns.

Figure 1. The evolutionary�velopmental origins and proximate mechanisms underlying psychobehavioral sex differences, including those in leadership. Sexually dimorphic leadership specialization is included as a new hypothesis, not as an established fact. Figure adapted from Luoto et al. (2019a), Arnold (2020), McCarthy (2020), and Malmi (2021).


Results

Group Comparisons

Data obtained in previous studies on non-clinical samples indicated that intrasexual competition, especially for mates, is associated with disordered eating behavior and that slow life history strategy may have a protective effect on disordered eating behavior. Our aim was to test how intrasexual competition and life history strategies bear upon clinically manifest eating disorders. Table ​ Table3 3 shows the global scores of the ALHB, BRIEF-A, MVI, ISCM, ISCS, and EDEQ as presented in our three different sample groups (AN, BN, and controls). Participants with AN and BN differed in several measures from the control group, partially corresponding to the findings of another recent study on larger sample sizes (Aardoom et al., 2012). Moreover, the mean BMI of the AN group was appreciably lower than the means of the BN group and the control group (see Table ​ Table1), 1 ), suggesting that the clinical groups were fairly representative.

Table 3

Means and standard deviations (SD) for life history scores (ALHB), executive functioning (BRIEF-A), perceived own mate value (MVI), intrasexual competition for mates (ISCM) and status (ISCS) and disordered eating behavior (EDEQ).

MeasureAN (n = 20)BN (n = 20)Controls (n = 29)p-values for planned comparisons
ALHB  ਁ.25 (0.33)  ਀.88 (0.47) ਁ.44 (0.33)AN > BN ∗ , C > BN ∗
BRIEF-A111.15 (58.12)141.85 (62.24)72.0 (34.23)AN > C ∗ , BN > C ∗
MVI  ਀.94 (0.57)  ਀.52 (0.82)ਁ.11 (0.81)AN < C ∗ , BN < C ∗
ISCM  ਁ.32 (0.79)  ਁ.55 (0.68)਀.93 (0.62)BN > C ∗
ISCS  ਁ.34 (0.59)  ਁ.53 (0.66)ਁ.47 (0.52)n.s.
EDEQ  ਃ.50 (1.36)  ਃ.97 (1.15)਀.73 (0.62)AN > C ∗ BN > C ∗

Correlation Analysis

Table ​ Table4 4 shows correlation coefficients for those variables that were chosen for the subsequent sequential canonical analysis. As expected, AN and BN correlated with BMI and scores of the EDEQ. Additional unique correlations emerged for BN with life history measures, executive functioning and mate value scores. The ALHB score also correlated with executive functioning (BRIEF), mate value, intrasexual competition for mates, and eating disorder. Together, these findings suggest that people with BN displayed signs of a fast life history strategy, whereas individuals with AN did not differ from controls on most life history scores, except in executive functioning and perceived mate value, as discussed below.

Table 4

Correlation coefficients.

VariablesਊgeBMIANBNALHBBRIEF-AMVIISCMISCS
Age
BMI ਀.16
AN𠄰.13𠄰.66*
BN𠄰.01 ਀.29*𠄰.41*
ALHB𠄰.10𠄰.16 ਀.04𠄰.49*
BRIEF-A ਀.18 ਀.03 ਀.08 ਀.42*𠄰.68*
MVI𠄰.01 ਀.02𠄰.13𠄰.47* ਀.69*𠄰.61*
ISCM𠄰.11𠄰.02 ਀.09 ਀.29*𠄰.49* ਀.27*𠄰.23
ISCS ਀.01 ਀.13𠄰.12 ਀.09𠄰.22 ਀.21𠄰.110.55*
EDEQ𠄰.09𠄰.16 ਀.36* ਀.53*𠄰.55* ਀.63*𠄰.65*0.36*0.05

Sequential Canonical Analysis

The multivariate test for the entire sequential canonical analysis model was statistically significant (Pillai-Bartlett V = 0.686, η = 0.37, F = 27.58, p < 0.0001), indicating an omnibus protective test of overall statistical significance. Table ​ Table5 5 displays the results of this analysis.

Table 5

Multivariate hierarchical (sequential) regression analysis for the criterion variables.

Criterion variablesPrior criterion variablesEffect size (CI)F-ratiodf1/df2p
BRIEF-A
ALHBr = 𠄰.68 (𠄰.79,𠄰.52)57.191/67  π.0001
MVIself
BRIEFr = 𠄰.61 (𠄰.74,𠄰.43)49.101/66  π.0001
ALHBr = 0.35 (0.12,0.55)16.291/66  π.0001
ISCM
MVIselfr = 𠄰.23 (𠄰.44,0.02) ਃ.981/650.05
BRIEFr = 0.16 (𠄰.08,0.39) ਂ.101/650.15
ALHBr = 𠄰.29 (𠄰.50,𠄰.05) ਆ.591/650.01
ISCS
ISCMr = 0.55 (0.35,0.70)27.901/64  π.0001
MVIselfr = 0.01 (𠄰.23,0.25) ਀.011/640.91
BRIEFr = 0.09 (𠄰.15,0.33) ਀.791/640.38
ALHBr = 0.08 (𠄰.16,0.32) ਀.611/640.44
EDEQ
ISCSr = 0.05 (𠄰.20,0.29) ਀.351/630.38
ISCMr = 0.40 (0.18,0.59)25.271/63  π.0001
MVIselfr = 𠄰.58 (𠄰.72,𠄰.40)53.011/63  π.0001
BRIEFr = 0.28 (0.04,0.48)11.721/63 ਀.001
ALHBr = 0.10 (𠄰.14,0.34) ਁ.631/630.21

Poor executive functioning (BRIEF-A, which is reverse-scored to indicate difficulties) was significantly predicted to decrease by the life history (ALHB) factor, suggesting that a slower life history was associated with better executive functioning (-0.68 ∗ ).

As regards own mate value (MVI), superior executive functioning predicted an increased self-perceived mate value (-0.61 ∗ ). Moreover, slower life history also directly and significantly predicted an increase in self-rated mate value (0.35 ∗ ).

Intrasexual competition for mates (ISCM) was predicted to decrease by own mate value ratings (-0.23 ∗ ), that is, higher perception of one’s own mate value predicted a decreased intrasexual competition for mates. Intrasexual competition for mates was also directly and significantly predicted to decrease by a slower life history (-0.29 ∗ ), but was not directly and significantly predicted by poor executive functioning. Intrasexual competition for status (ISCS), in contrast, was only directly and significantly predicted by an increase by intrasexual competition for mates (0.55 ∗ ) and showed no other significant direct effects upon that construct.

Finally, disordered eating behavior (EDEQ) was directly and significantly predicted to increase by intrasexual competition for mates (0.40 ∗ ), but not for status, and it was also directly and significantly predicted to increase by poor executive functioning (0.28 ∗ ), but was not further directly and significantly predicted by slower life history scores. Disordered eating behavior was directly and significantly predicted to decrease by higher self-perceived mate value (-0.58 ∗ ).

Reported confidence intervals (CIs) were the lower and upper bounds for an approximate 90% level of confidence, uncorrected for the number of other variables included in the model. Criterion variables were cascaded, with the prior criterion variables partialled out in reverse order for the path analytic interpretation of direct and indirect effects. All regression residuals were evaluated for normality of distribution, and both the skewness and kurtosis parameters were found to be within conventional limits (-1.96,+1.96) for each criterion variable tested.


Secrets of a Sexy Voice? Tell Me More

Erika Engelhaupt and Adeline Goss

Jessica Rabbit knows what makes her bad: "I was drawn that way." But what makes her voice so sexy? Touchstone Home Entertainment hide caption

When we meet someone new, we're quick to judge: Friend or foe? Bland or bubbly? Hot or not?

It turns out the person's voice is key to that first impression. "Voice is a profound difference between men and women, and it colors every human interaction we have," says David Puts, an anthropologist at Michigan State University. Whether sultry, sweet, shrill or gravelly, a voice conjures up an image of who's talking.

The most obvious difference between male and female voices is pitch -- what we perceive as a high or deep voice. Men, on average, speak almost an octave lower than women. And women (as we learn in the radio story above) tend to say the deeper, the better.

But it's harder to determine what makes a woman's voice appealing to men. Some research shows that men prefer high-pitched female voices, but there haven't been many experiments so far. And there's probably such a thing as too high -- a voice that veers from sweet into shrill is just plain annoying.

In fact, when many people think of a sexy female voice, they don't think high -- they think deep and sultry, like the voice of Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But Harvard psychologist David Feinberg says that while we might think of Turner's voice as deep, what actually characterizes it is breathiness. Breathiness comes from air whistling through a gap at the back of the vocal cords. The gap is larger in women, giving them a breathier voice. Men might find a super-breathy voice sexy because it accentuates this naturally female trait, Feinberg says.

Men tend to agree strongly about which voices are attractive, says psychologist Susan Hughes of Albright College. But, she says, men have trouble pinpointing exactly what makes them swoon. She and other researchers have looked at what's called "formant dispersion." Our voices each have a variety of "formants" -- different frequencies that we regularly hit while we speak. Formant dispersion describes whether our usual frequencies are spaced closely together (a shrill or monotone voice) or far apart (an NPR host). The broader the range, the "fuller" the voice.

But how exactly do these female vocal qualities -- fullness, breathiness and pitch -- fit together into a sexy female voice? Hughes isn't sure. There's a mysterious vocal quality that men seem to recognize by ear but that is tough to identify using computer programs alone.

What's even stranger, Hughes says, is that both men and women with sexy voices also tend to be more symmetrical and have traditionally sexy body types: the men in her studies tended to have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and the women tended to have hourglass-shaped figures.

In men, these differences could be chalked up to testosterone. During puberty, testosterone helps boys build broad shoulders and big muscles. It also helps lower their voice. Sex hormones may also account for a woman's sexy voice and curvy figure, Hughes says.

And people with attractive voices seem to have more sex partners over their lifetimes, Hughes' research shows. "They're chosen as affair partners more often," she says, "and they'll lose their virginity at an earlier age." It might be that the hormones that caused the sexy voice in the first place also affect sex drive -- or maybe the combination of a sexy voice and a sexy build makes for lots of phone numbers written on cocktail napkins.

So will these findings lead to testosterone injections, vocal training and other drastic attempts to sex up one's voice? Probably not, says Hughes. Attempting to alter your voice could increase your sex appeal -- but it won't turn you into a stud muffin.

Picture Dwight Schrute of The Office with the voice of Barry White. You get the idea.


Spotting a cheater

But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A recent study suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as "more likely to cheat" than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.

The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don&rsquot know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.

Not all cheaters are this obvious. Shutterstock

It is not only women who can pick up on men&rsquos vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman&rsquos voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women&rsquos voices most attractive when the women are near ovulation (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).

Voices can also signal whether someone is interested in you. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.

The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men&rsquos voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.

In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone&rsquos voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.

Viktoria Mileva is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of Stirling. Juan David Leongómez is Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at El Bosque University. This piece was originally published by The Conversation.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ


How Evolution Designed Your Fear

T he most effective monsters of horror fiction mirror ancestral dangers to exploit evolved human fears. Some fears are universal, some are near-universal, and some are local. The local fears—the idiosyncratic phobias such as the phobia of moths, say—tend to be avoided by horror writers, directors, and programmers. Horror artists typically want to target the greatest possible audience and that means targeting the most common fears. As the writer Thomas F. Monteleone has observed, “a horror writer has to have an unconscious sense or knowledge of what’s going to be a universal ‘trigger.’ ” 1 All common fears can be located within a few biologically constrained categories or domains.

Over evolutionary time, humans and their ancestors have faced potentially lethal danger in the domains of predation, intraspecific violence, contamination-contagion, status loss, and in the domain of dangerous nonliving environmental features. 2-5 In other words, they faced danger from predatory animals (ranging from mammalian carnivores to venomous animals such as spiders and snakes) from hostile members of their own species from invisible pathogens, bacteria and viruses from loss of status, ostracization, and ultimately social exclusion, which in ancestral environments could mean death and they faced the risk of lethal injury following dangerous weather events such as violent thunderstorms, falls from cliffs, and other potentially hazardous topographical features. The selection pressures from these types of danger have resulted in domain-specificity in the reactivity of the fear system, meaning that the system has evolved special sensitivity toward such dangers. Sometimes such sensitivity allows the fear system to unreasonably expand a category and target an innocuous object, such as expanding the category of “dangerous animals” to include moths. In the domain of survival the golden rule is “better safe than sorry.”

Timo Paschke / EyeEm / Getty Images

The most basic, universal, genetically hardwired fears are the fears of sudden, loud noises and of looming objects—those are the fears that we aim to evoke when we hide behind a door, waiting to spook an unsuspecting friend by jumping at them with a roar. Sudden, loud noises and looming objects will cause an involuntary startle response in humans and in many other species as well. You can sneak up behind a rat and yell at it, and its reaction will be similar to your own, if somebody sneaks up behind you and yells at you. You can also try the experiment with a dog or a squirrel or a human infant it’s guaranteed to work. The startle reflex is primitive and swift, and very effective in orienting the organism toward, and preparing it for, danger. Horror video games and horror films, in particular, exploit this innate fear when they resort to “jump scares,” such as having a monster jump out of a closet without any warning and frightening the viewer or player.

Not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired—we need to learn what to be afraid of.

Other fears are universal but relatively transient. As developmental psychologists have demonstrated, children reliably develop highly specific fears along a predictable developmental trajectory. And as evolutionary psychologists have demonstrated, these predictable fears emerge when children are most vulnerable to the dangers targeted by the fears—or more precisely when children would have been most vulnerable to such dangers in ancestral environments, the kinds of environments in which our species evolved. These environments in significant respects diverged from modern environments, but the fears persist. For infants, incapable of self-propelled motion and self-defense, the most dangerous situations—in ancestral environments and now—are the absence of caregivers and the presence of potentially hostile strangers. Hence infants reliably develop separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, which persist until the toddler years. 3 As children begin to move about on their own, they reliably develop fear of heights. At around age 4–6, as children begin exploring their environments more extensively and thus become more vulnerable to predation, they typically become obsessed with death, afraid of monsters lurking in the dark, and preoccupied with dangerous animals such as lions and tigers. In middle to late childhood, fears of injury, accidents, and contagion emerge, and in late childhood and particularly early adolescence, social threats become “salient” to children—children tend to become highly anxious of losing status, losing friends, being ostracized, and so on, at precisely the developmental stage where peers begin to be more important to them than parents, and when their major challenge is to “find a specific social niche and build stable networks of reciprocity.” 3

The evolutionary logic behind this preset developmental schedule is clear: Children evolved to develop domain-specific fears at the phase where they would typically encounter, or be particularly vulnerable to, such evolutionarily recurrent dangers. Some people may feel that they grow out of these fears—that they no longer need to check under the bed for lurking monsters before they go to sleep—but most of the fears begin in childhood and persist in somewhat modified forms throughout life. 3 Stephen King, in a foreword to a collection of stories, told readers that when he goes to bed at night, he is still “at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blankets after the lights go out. I’m not a child anymore but . I don’t like to sleep with one leg sticking out . The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” 6 King is joking, but all the same, who hasn’t at some point conceded to a fearful, apparently irrational impulse from the limbic system, an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark or to keep the feet inside the bed covers when we’re alone? Not that we believe in ghosts or monsters or zombies, naturally, but . better safe than sorry, right? We may rationally dismiss the ostensibly childish fear targets—the monsters, the creepy strangers, the dangerous animals— but they at the very least live on in horror stories, even horror stories for adults, featuring giant monsters, psychos in hockey masks, and creepy-crawlies hiding in the dark.

PeopleImages / Getty Images

Those fears that are near-universal are known as “prepared fears.” 7 They are not hardwired in the same way as the fears of sudden, loud noises and looming objects are. Nobody learns to flinch at a rapidly oncoming basketball. Prepared fears are innate, though, in the sense that they are genetically transmitted but require environmental input for their activation. The human fear system, in this aspect, is relatively open-ended—that is, it is set up for environmental calibration. The evolutionary logic underlying this design characteristic is as follows: Humans evolved to be adaptable. 8 Our species thrives in all climate zones, from the tropical to the arctic. Yet while some dangers are constant across time and space—the danger of choking, say, or of drowning—there is some environmental variation in threat distribution. There’s no sense for an Inuit child in being afraid of tigers or scorpions, whereas a child from rural India doesn’t need to worry about polar bears. And because our genes can’t “know” in what sort of climate and ecology we’ll grow up, those genes make us able and eager to learn about threats in our local environments. Humans quickly absorb local culture, including norms, language, knowledge about dangers, the sorts of things people in your culture consider edible or not, and so on. Learning, in fact, is an “evolutionarily derived adaptation to cope with environmental changes that occur within the life span of individuals and allows individual organisms to tailor their behavior to the specific environmental niche they occupy.” 9

Who hasn’t at some point conceded to an ancient and anxious voice from the deepest recesses of the brain telling us to avoid a shortcut across a graveyard after dark?

So, because different environments have somewhat different dangers, not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired. We need to learn what to be afraid of, but such learning takes place within a biologically constrained possibility space. While different environments feature different threats, some threats have been evolutionarily persistent enough, and serious enough, to have left an imprint on our genome as prepared fears, as potentialities that may be activated during an individual’s life in response to personal or vicarious experience, or culturally transmitted information. This explains why there may be surface variation in people’s fears but a stable, underlying structure of fear distribution. The 2012 ChildFund Alliance report “Small Voices, Big Dreams,” which quantified children’s fears and dreams based on responses from 5,100 individuals from 44 countries, found that the most common fear among children across developing and developed countries is the fear of “dangerous animals and insects.” 10 Even children growing up in industrialized, urban environments free of nonhuman predators easily acquire fear of dangerous animals because such prepared learning is part and parcel of human nature. One study asked suburban American kids about their fears and found that they do not “fear the things they have been taught to be careful about,” such as “street traffic,” but “claim that the things to be afraid of are mammals and reptiles (most frequently): snakes, lions, and tigers.” 11

What Technology Can’t Change About Happiness

In 2014, researchers at the University of Warwick in England announced they had found a strong association between a gene mutation identified with happiness and well-being. It’s called 5-HTTLPR and it affects the way our body metabolizes the neurotransmitter serotonin. READ MORE

Prepared fears include the fear of snakes, spiders, heights, blood, closed-in spaces, the dark, thunder, public or open spaces, social scrutiny, and deep water. 5, 7, 12 Those are typical phobia objects, quite easy to acquire and very difficult to extinguish. A phobia can be defined as “fear of a situation that is out of proportion to its danger,” 13 which suggests the very weirdness of phobias: They are extremely real, often crippling, to sufferers, even though phobias either don’t correspond to real-world dangers or exaggerate actual risks wildly. Almost nobody dies from being bitten by snakes or spiders—the most common phobia objects—in the industrialized world. According to recent statistics from the National Safety Council of the United States, the lifetime odds of dying from a motor vehicle accident for a person born in 2007 were 1 in 88.

In contrast, the odds of dying from contact with venomous spiders were 1 in 483,457, and the odds of dying from contact with venomous snakes or lizards were 1 in 552,522. 14 We should be terrified of cars and worry much less about snakes and spiders. But since the threats targeted by phobias have been lethal to humans and our hominin (and mammalian) ancestors for millions of years, we are still born with the evolved propensity to easily acquire fear of such targets.

A list of Stephen King’s “personal terrors” was published in 1973. 15 This list strikingly reflects the species-typical distribution of evolved fear objects much more so than it reflects the objects, creatures, and situations that a 20th-century inhabitant of Maine ought to fear:

1. Fear of the dark
2. Fear of squishy things
3. Fear of deformity
4. Fear of snakes
5. Fear of rats
6. Fear of closed-in spaces
7. Fear of insects (especially spiders, flies, and beetles)
8. Fear of death
9. Fear of others (paranoia)
10. Fear for someone else

Personal terrors they may be, but King’s list could be anybody’s list—an American’s list, an Asian’s list, an African’s list, a European’s list. It could be the list of someone living 1,000 or 50,000 years ago. Individuals of the species Homo sapiens tend to be afraid of the same things. People in the industrialized world may no longer face the threat of predation from carnivores, and we may no longer be in any real danger from venomous spiders and snakes, but these animals live on as ghosts in the human central nervous system.

Mathias Clasen is an associate professor of literature and media in the Department of English, Aarhus University.

From Why Horror Seduces by Mathias Clasen. Copyright 2017 by Oxford University Press.
All rights reserved.

1. Wiater, S., Ed. Dark Thoughts on Writing: Advice and Commentary from Fifty Masters of Fear and Suspense Underwood, New York, NY (1997).

2. Barrett, H.C. Adaptations to predators and prey. In Buss, D.M. (Ed.) The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Vol. 1, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ (2005).

3. Boyer, P. & Bergstrom, B. Threat-detection in child development: An evolutionary perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 35, 1034–1041 (2011).

4. Buss, D.M. Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind Pearson Allyn & Bacon, Boston (2012).

5. Marks, I.M. & Nesse, R.M. Fear and fitness: An evolutionary analysis of anxiety disorders. Ethology and Sociobiology 15, 247–261 (1994).

6. King, S. “Foreword” In Night Shift Hodder and Stoughton, London (1978).

7. Seligman, M.E.P. Phobias and preparedness. Behavior Therapy 2, 307–320 (1971).

8. Wade, N. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors Penguin, New York, NY (2006).

9. Öhman, A. & Mineka, S. Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning. Psychological Review 108, 483–522 (2001).

10. ChildFund Alliance. Wiseman, H. (Ed.) 2012. Small Voices, Big Dreams 2012: A Global Survey of Children’s Hopes, Aspirations, and Fears Richmond, VA (2012).

11. Maurer, A. What children fear. The Journal of Genetic Psychology 106, 265–277 (1965).

12. Dozier, R.W. Fear Itself: The Origin and Nature of the Powerful Emotion that Shapes Our Lives and Our World St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY (1998).

13. Marks, I.M. Fears, Phobias, and Rituals: Panic, Anxiety, and Their Disorders Oxford University Press, New York, NY (1987).

14. National Safety Council. Injury Facts 2011 Edition National Safety Council, Itasca, IL (2011).


Evolutionary Psychology and Feminism

This article provides a historical context of evolutionary psychology and feminism, and evaluates the contributions to this special issue of Sex Roles within that context. We briefly outline the basic tenets of evolutionary psychology and articulate its meta-theory of the origins of gender similarities and differences. The article then evaluates the specific contributions: Sexual Strategies Theory and the desire for sexual variety evolved standards of beauty hypothesized adaptations to ovulation the appeal of risk taking in human mating understanding the causes of sexual victimization and the role of studies of lesbian mate preferences in evaluating the framework of evolutionary psychology. Discussion focuses on the importance of social and cultural context, human behavioral flexibility, and the evidentiary status of specific evolutionary psychological hypotheses. We conclude by examining the potential role of evolutionary psychology in addressing social problems identified by feminist agendas.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


1. Familiar voices jump out

Familiar voices seem to jump out of the background hubbub automatically at us.

Participants in a recent study listened to their spouse’s voice when it was mixed up with a stranger’s voice (Johnsrude et al., 2013). They found it easier to pick out what their spouse was saying compared with the stranger.

The punch line is that people also found it much easier to ignore their spouse’s voice when they wanted to.

So, familiar voices are easier to hear, and also easier to tune out.


Secrets of a Sexy Voice? Tell Me More

Erika Engelhaupt and Adeline Goss

Jessica Rabbit knows what makes her bad: "I was drawn that way." But what makes her voice so sexy? Touchstone Home Entertainment hide caption

When we meet someone new, we're quick to judge: Friend or foe? Bland or bubbly? Hot or not?

It turns out the person's voice is key to that first impression. "Voice is a profound difference between men and women, and it colors every human interaction we have," says David Puts, an anthropologist at Michigan State University. Whether sultry, sweet, shrill or gravelly, a voice conjures up an image of who's talking.

The most obvious difference between male and female voices is pitch -- what we perceive as a high or deep voice. Men, on average, speak almost an octave lower than women. And women (as we learn in the radio story above) tend to say the deeper, the better.

But it's harder to determine what makes a woman's voice appealing to men. Some research shows that men prefer high-pitched female voices, but there haven't been many experiments so far. And there's probably such a thing as too high -- a voice that veers from sweet into shrill is just plain annoying.

In fact, when many people think of a sexy female voice, they don't think high -- they think deep and sultry, like the voice of Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But Harvard psychologist David Feinberg says that while we might think of Turner's voice as deep, what actually characterizes it is breathiness. Breathiness comes from air whistling through a gap at the back of the vocal cords. The gap is larger in women, giving them a breathier voice. Men might find a super-breathy voice sexy because it accentuates this naturally female trait, Feinberg says.

Men tend to agree strongly about which voices are attractive, says psychologist Susan Hughes of Albright College. But, she says, men have trouble pinpointing exactly what makes them swoon. She and other researchers have looked at what's called "formant dispersion." Our voices each have a variety of "formants" -- different frequencies that we regularly hit while we speak. Formant dispersion describes whether our usual frequencies are spaced closely together (a shrill or monotone voice) or far apart (an NPR host). The broader the range, the "fuller" the voice.

But how exactly do these female vocal qualities -- fullness, breathiness and pitch -- fit together into a sexy female voice? Hughes isn't sure. There's a mysterious vocal quality that men seem to recognize by ear but that is tough to identify using computer programs alone.

What's even stranger, Hughes says, is that both men and women with sexy voices also tend to be more symmetrical and have traditionally sexy body types: the men in her studies tended to have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and the women tended to have hourglass-shaped figures.

In men, these differences could be chalked up to testosterone. During puberty, testosterone helps boys build broad shoulders and big muscles. It also helps lower their voice. Sex hormones may also account for a woman's sexy voice and curvy figure, Hughes says.

And people with attractive voices seem to have more sex partners over their lifetimes, Hughes' research shows. "They're chosen as affair partners more often," she says, "and they'll lose their virginity at an earlier age." It might be that the hormones that caused the sexy voice in the first place also affect sex drive -- or maybe the combination of a sexy voice and a sexy build makes for lots of phone numbers written on cocktail napkins.

So will these findings lead to testosterone injections, vocal training and other drastic attempts to sex up one's voice? Probably not, says Hughes. Attempting to alter your voice could increase your sex appeal -- but it won't turn you into a stud muffin.

Picture Dwight Schrute of The Office with the voice of Barry White. You get the idea.


Introduction

The novel coronavirus and the disease that it causes (i.e., COVID-19) created a social and economic upheaval unseen in the past half a century or more. The political and social responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, have both had major effects on economic activity, public policy, civic engagement, and population health almost all over the world (Bedford et al., 2020 Weible et al., 2020). Being under direct human control, such policy responses (versus inaction) have the potential to diminish the impact of the virus or to amplify its disastrous effects.

We review the evidence on cross-national differences between male and female leadership during the pandemic and discuss the possible evolutionary�velopmental and psychobehavioral mechanisms underlying such differences (Figure 1). Based on a review of relevant research in evolutionary science, psychology, behavioral science, anthropology, political science, economics, behavioral genetics, and developmental, cognitive, and behavioral neuroscience, we also present the sexually dimorphic leadership specialization hypothesis as one of the possible explanations for these cross-national patterns.

Figure 1. The evolutionary�velopmental origins and proximate mechanisms underlying psychobehavioral sex differences, including those in leadership. Sexually dimorphic leadership specialization is included as a new hypothesis, not as an established fact. Figure adapted from Luoto et al. (2019a), Arnold (2020), McCarthy (2020), and Malmi (2021).


Results

Group Comparisons

Data obtained in previous studies on non-clinical samples indicated that intrasexual competition, especially for mates, is associated with disordered eating behavior and that slow life history strategy may have a protective effect on disordered eating behavior. Our aim was to test how intrasexual competition and life history strategies bear upon clinically manifest eating disorders. Table ​ Table3 3 shows the global scores of the ALHB, BRIEF-A, MVI, ISCM, ISCS, and EDEQ as presented in our three different sample groups (AN, BN, and controls). Participants with AN and BN differed in several measures from the control group, partially corresponding to the findings of another recent study on larger sample sizes (Aardoom et al., 2012). Moreover, the mean BMI of the AN group was appreciably lower than the means of the BN group and the control group (see Table ​ Table1), 1 ), suggesting that the clinical groups were fairly representative.

Table 3

Means and standard deviations (SD) for life history scores (ALHB), executive functioning (BRIEF-A), perceived own mate value (MVI), intrasexual competition for mates (ISCM) and status (ISCS) and disordered eating behavior (EDEQ).

MeasureAN (n = 20)BN (n = 20)Controls (n = 29)p-values for planned comparisons
ALHB  ਁ.25 (0.33)  ਀.88 (0.47) ਁ.44 (0.33)AN > BN ∗ , C > BN ∗
BRIEF-A111.15 (58.12)141.85 (62.24)72.0 (34.23)AN > C ∗ , BN > C ∗
MVI  ਀.94 (0.57)  ਀.52 (0.82)ਁ.11 (0.81)AN < C ∗ , BN < C ∗
ISCM  ਁ.32 (0.79)  ਁ.55 (0.68)਀.93 (0.62)BN > C ∗
ISCS  ਁ.34 (0.59)  ਁ.53 (0.66)ਁ.47 (0.52)n.s.
EDEQ  ਃ.50 (1.36)  ਃ.97 (1.15)਀.73 (0.62)AN > C ∗ BN > C ∗

Correlation Analysis

Table ​ Table4 4 shows correlation coefficients for those variables that were chosen for the subsequent sequential canonical analysis. As expected, AN and BN correlated with BMI and scores of the EDEQ. Additional unique correlations emerged for BN with life history measures, executive functioning and mate value scores. The ALHB score also correlated with executive functioning (BRIEF), mate value, intrasexual competition for mates, and eating disorder. Together, these findings suggest that people with BN displayed signs of a fast life history strategy, whereas individuals with AN did not differ from controls on most life history scores, except in executive functioning and perceived mate value, as discussed below.

Table 4

Correlation coefficients.

VariablesਊgeBMIANBNALHBBRIEF-AMVIISCMISCS
Age
BMI ਀.16
AN𠄰.13𠄰.66*
BN𠄰.01 ਀.29*𠄰.41*
ALHB𠄰.10𠄰.16 ਀.04𠄰.49*
BRIEF-A ਀.18 ਀.03 ਀.08 ਀.42*𠄰.68*
MVI𠄰.01 ਀.02𠄰.13𠄰.47* ਀.69*𠄰.61*
ISCM𠄰.11𠄰.02 ਀.09 ਀.29*𠄰.49* ਀.27*𠄰.23
ISCS ਀.01 ਀.13𠄰.12 ਀.09𠄰.22 ਀.21𠄰.110.55*
EDEQ𠄰.09𠄰.16 ਀.36* ਀.53*𠄰.55* ਀.63*𠄰.65*0.36*0.05

Sequential Canonical Analysis

The multivariate test for the entire sequential canonical analysis model was statistically significant (Pillai-Bartlett V = 0.686, η = 0.37, F = 27.58, p < 0.0001), indicating an omnibus protective test of overall statistical significance. Table ​ Table5 5 displays the results of this analysis.

Table 5

Multivariate hierarchical (sequential) regression analysis for the criterion variables.

Criterion variablesPrior criterion variablesEffect size (CI)F-ratiodf1/df2p
BRIEF-A
ALHBr = 𠄰.68 (𠄰.79,𠄰.52)57.191/67  π.0001
MVIself
BRIEFr = 𠄰.61 (𠄰.74,𠄰.43)49.101/66  π.0001
ALHBr = 0.35 (0.12,0.55)16.291/66  π.0001
ISCM
MVIselfr = 𠄰.23 (𠄰.44,0.02) ਃ.981/650.05
BRIEFr = 0.16 (𠄰.08,0.39) ਂ.101/650.15
ALHBr = 𠄰.29 (𠄰.50,𠄰.05) ਆ.591/650.01
ISCS
ISCMr = 0.55 (0.35,0.70)27.901/64  π.0001
MVIselfr = 0.01 (𠄰.23,0.25) ਀.011/640.91
BRIEFr = 0.09 (𠄰.15,0.33) ਀.791/640.38
ALHBr = 0.08 (𠄰.16,0.32) ਀.611/640.44
EDEQ
ISCSr = 0.05 (𠄰.20,0.29) ਀.351/630.38
ISCMr = 0.40 (0.18,0.59)25.271/63  π.0001
MVIselfr = 𠄰.58 (𠄰.72,𠄰.40)53.011/63  π.0001
BRIEFr = 0.28 (0.04,0.48)11.721/63 ਀.001
ALHBr = 0.10 (𠄰.14,0.34) ਁ.631/630.21

Poor executive functioning (BRIEF-A, which is reverse-scored to indicate difficulties) was significantly predicted to decrease by the life history (ALHB) factor, suggesting that a slower life history was associated with better executive functioning (-0.68 ∗ ).

As regards own mate value (MVI), superior executive functioning predicted an increased self-perceived mate value (-0.61 ∗ ). Moreover, slower life history also directly and significantly predicted an increase in self-rated mate value (0.35 ∗ ).

Intrasexual competition for mates (ISCM) was predicted to decrease by own mate value ratings (-0.23 ∗ ), that is, higher perception of one’s own mate value predicted a decreased intrasexual competition for mates. Intrasexual competition for mates was also directly and significantly predicted to decrease by a slower life history (-0.29 ∗ ), but was not directly and significantly predicted by poor executive functioning. Intrasexual competition for status (ISCS), in contrast, was only directly and significantly predicted by an increase by intrasexual competition for mates (0.55 ∗ ) and showed no other significant direct effects upon that construct.

Finally, disordered eating behavior (EDEQ) was directly and significantly predicted to increase by intrasexual competition for mates (0.40 ∗ ), but not for status, and it was also directly and significantly predicted to increase by poor executive functioning (0.28 ∗ ), but was not further directly and significantly predicted by slower life history scores. Disordered eating behavior was directly and significantly predicted to decrease by higher self-perceived mate value (-0.58 ∗ ).

Reported confidence intervals (CIs) were the lower and upper bounds for an approximate 90% level of confidence, uncorrected for the number of other variables included in the model. Criterion variables were cascaded, with the prior criterion variables partialled out in reverse order for the path analytic interpretation of direct and indirect effects. All regression residuals were evaluated for normality of distribution, and both the skewness and kurtosis parameters were found to be within conventional limits (-1.96,+1.96) for each criterion variable tested.


Spotting a cheater

But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A recent study suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as "more likely to cheat" than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.

The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don&rsquot know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.

Not all cheaters are this obvious. Shutterstock

It is not only women who can pick up on men&rsquos vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman&rsquos voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women&rsquos voices most attractive when the women are near ovulation (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).

Voices can also signal whether someone is interested in you. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.

The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men&rsquos voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.

In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone&rsquos voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.

Viktoria Mileva is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of Stirling. Juan David Leongómez is Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at El Bosque University. This piece was originally published by The Conversation.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ


Here's What Makes A Voice Sexy (Or Deeply Unsexy)

It’s a good time to be alive if you’re particularly turned on by voices. There’s audio erotica apps like Dipsea and Quinn. There’s ASMR that’s sexual. There are videos of Tom Hardy reading bedtime stories available for free on YouTube. (Yes, those videos are ostensibly for kids, but let’s be real: You know it’s mostly adults who are tuning in.)

Voices do a lot of heavy lifting when we’re dating, too. Studies have shown that people subconsciously lower their voices when trying to attract a person they’re interested in.

What is it about a voice that can get some of us going? The depth, the timbre? Why do we hear a rich, buttery voice on an otherwise run-of-the-mill NPR show and jump to conclusions about the attractiveness of the person speaking? What does it mean to have a f**kable voice?

Before you shake your head at the absurdity of having a voice so good, you’d screw it if possible, imagine, say, Jon Hamm telling you exactly what he wants to do to you in bed. Now imagine Jared Kushner, a man whose voice has been likened to “a young Michael Cera” and “a sassy Kermit the Frog,” telling you the very same thing. Completely different experience, right?

Let’s take this further, in a subjective (but ultimately correct) examination of sexy voices:

    voice? Definitely screwable. reading anything — hell, even an Applebee’s menu. Yes, please.
  • The voices of most white dudes who have a podcast? No, thanks.
  • Leonard Cohen crooning about Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel or just talking? Yes! deep British accent? Sex on a stick. narrating some bird species’ weird mating ritual on “Planet Earth”? I’m sorry, Sir David, but no. aka Bob from “Bob’s Burger” and the lead on “Archer”? Might be the most f**kable voice yet!

“There are definitely those voices you hear that just get you going,” said Estevan Q., a Los Angeles-based writer and co-host of the pop culture podcast Your Gay Cousins.

“For me, there’s a certain texture and rhythm to a guy’s voice that can be so attractive,” Estevan said. “It isn’t necessarily about a voice being deep, but one that’s a bit gravelly, yet breathy — sort of how I imagine whiskey might sound if it had a voice.”

His fave? Armie Hammer. “He recorded the audiobook of my favorite novel, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and oh my God, it was so hot to have him in my ears,” Estevan said. “His husky voice just sounds like it wants to teach you things.”

There’s something conspiratorial and intimate about hearing a sexy-voiced person speak they might be reading the movie times or something equally mundane but you’re drawn in by that honeyed voice, and soon, your mind trails off to much naughtier places.

There needs to be a dating app where you can hear a sample of the person’s voice because that’s 50% of my attraction right there

&mdash DIAMANTE (@DIAMANTEband) October 7, 2018

Amanda Montell, a reporter and author of “Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language,” even struggled to end things with a guy because his voice (or at least his accent) was so hot.

“I once continued dating this dude from Dublin for weeks longer than I really intended to because his Irish accent was so irresistible,” she said. “Dating someone with a European accent feels just as prestigious as dating someone who’s extraordinarily physically hot.”

She’s had bad luck in this area, too.

“I also once dated a guy whose voice sounded exactly like Kevin Spacey’s, which was a turn-off only because it’s not all that sexy to be romantically involved with someone whose voice is a dead ringer for a reported pedophile,” she said.

Scientifically speaking, what makes a voice sexy?

So what exactly sets a sexy voice apart from others? Studies show that women tend to prefer men with deep voices, which are linked to higher testosterone levels and general reproductive prowess. Men, meanwhile, are drawn to women with high-pitched voices, which are associated with high estrogen levels, perhaps serving as a cue to a woman’s health and fertility.

However, a 2010 study found that women actually affect an entirely different voice around a person they’re attracted to. Rather than a high-pitched, girlish voice, women drop their tones to a lower, sexier register. (Think: Lauren Bacall, Scarlett Johansson or Elaine Benes and the faux-sexy voice she uses to trick Jerry on “Seinfeld.”)

“A sexy voice voice is warm and inviting. It feels as if it is spoken from the chest, rather than the head. Its tones are pleasing and not at all nasal.”

“There is a stereotype of what is a sexual voice in our culture ― a low, breathy voice,” said Susan Hughes, the study’s author and an expert in evolutionary psychology.

Unscientifically speaking, a deep, typically sexy voice conveys richness, wisdom and strength.

Essentially, then, what we consider a sexy voice is partly determined by biology, and partly determined by society’s exaggerated ideas around voices, said Jean Berko Gleason, coauthor of the textbook “Psycholinguistics” and professor emerita at Boston University. (The husky, throaty voice isn’t likely to come off as sexy in Japan, she said, where women are expected to speak at the high end of their vocal range.)

“Overall, though, a sexy voice is warm and inviting,” she said. “It feels as if it is spoken from the chest, rather than the head. Its tones are pleasing and not at all nasal.” If it sounds like you’re talking through your nose, that kills any chance of having a sexy voice, she added.

Berko Gleason pointed to Viola Davis’ low, measured tones as an example of what might be considered a standard for a sexy voice. Lauren Bacall seductively teaching Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in the 1944 film “To Have and Have Not” is also pretty much a masterclass in sexy voice affectation. (The film’s director believed Bacall originally sounded “reedy” so, during production, she read aloud to herself, training to make her voice “lower, more masculine, sexier.”)

For an example of a sexy male voice, the professor went with a classic — James Earl Jones — as well as Barack Obama. Indeed, the former president has a voice so cool, calm and (let’s face it) jarringly sexy, it alone managed to lure in none other than Michelle Obama (née Robinson) when the pair first crossed paths in 1989.

As the former FLOTUS wrote in her memoir “Becoming,” she didn’t understand the hype about the new cute guy at her Chicago law firm. There was a “whiff of geekiness” to his staff photo, she wrote, though “his bio said he was originally from Hawaii, which at least made him a comparatively exotic geek.” (Ouch.)

But then, fatefully, she heard that voice.

“I made a quick obligatory phone call to introduce myself,” Michelle wrote. She was “pleasantly startled by the voice on the other end of the line ― a rich, even sexy, baritone that didn’t seem to match his photo one bit.”

Damn. And they said Reagan was “the great communicator.”

Sex Ed for Grown-Ups is a series tackling everything you didn’t learn about sex in school — beyond the birds and the bees. Keep checking back for more expert-based articles and personal stories.


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