Masculine men articulate less clearly

Vera Kempe, David A. Puts, Rodrigo A. Cárdenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In previous research, acoustic characteristics of the male voice have been shown to signal various aspects of mate quality and threat potential. But the human voice is also a medium of linguistic communication. The present study explores whether physical and vocal indicators of male mate quality and threat potential are linked to effective communicative behaviors such as vowel differentiation and use of more salient phonetic variants of consonants. We show that physical and vocal indicators of male threat potential, height and formant position, are negatively linked to vowel space size, and that height and levels of circulating testosterone are negatively linked to the use of the aspirated variant of the alveolar stop consonant /t/. Thus, taller, more masculine men display less clarity in their speech and prefer phonetic variants that may be associated with masculine attributes such as toughness. These findings suggest that vocal signals of men’s mate quality and/or dominance are not confined to the realm of voice acoustics but extend to other aspects of communicative behavior, even if this means a trade-off with speech patterns that are considered communicatively advantageous, such as clarity and indexical cues to higher social class.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-475
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Nature
Volume24
Issue number4
Early online date15 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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threat
phonetics
acoustics
mass media
testosterone
socioeconomic status
social class
trade-off
communication
linguistics
Masculine
Mate
Threat
indicator
speech
Clarity
Physical
attribute
Alveolar Stops
Toughness

Cite this

Kempe, Vera ; Puts, David A. ; Cárdenas, Rodrigo A. / Masculine men articulate less clearly. In: Human Nature. 2013 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 461-475.
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Kempe, V, Puts, DA & Cárdenas, RA 2013, 'Masculine men articulate less clearly', Human Nature, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 461-475. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-013-9183-y

Masculine men articulate less clearly. / Kempe, Vera; Puts, David A.; Cárdenas, Rodrigo A.

In: Human Nature, Vol. 24, No. 4, 12.2013, p. 461-475.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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