A deep male voice helps women rememberSeptember 13, 2011
In a series of two experiments, Smith and colleagues show that memory in women is sensitive to male voice pitch, a cue important for mate choice because it can indicate genetic quality as well as signal behavioral traits undesirable in a long-term partner. These could include antisocial traits and lack of emotional warmth for example. In order to evaluate potential partners, women appear to rely on their memories to rapidly provide information about the attributes and past behavior of potential partners.
In the first experiment, 45 women were initially shown an image of a single object while listening to the name of the object spoken either by a high or low pitch male or female manipulated voice. They were then shown two similar but not identical versions of the object and asked to identify the one they had seen earlier. The women were also asked which voice they preferred.
In the second experiment, as well as manipulated voices, the researchers used real male and female voices to test how 46 new women rated the voices and how they scored on object memory.
In both cases, the authors found that women had a strong preference for the low pitch male voice and remembered objects more accurately when they have been introduced by the deep male voice.
Smith concludes: "Our findings demonstrate that women's memory is enhanced with lower pitch male voices, compared with the less attractive raised pitch male voices. Our two experiments indicate for the first time that signals from the opposite-sex that are important for mate choice also affect the accuracy of women's memory."
Dr. Kevin Allan, who supervised the research, said, "We think this is evidence that evolution has shaped women's ability to remember information associated with desirable men. Good memory for specific encounters with desirable men allows women to compare and evaluate men according to how they might behave in different relationship contexts, for example a long-term committed relationship versus a short-term uncommitted relationship. This would help women to pick a suitable partner, and that's a particularly important ability to have because the costs of poor mate-choice decisions can be severe."
Smith D et al (2011). A modulatory effect of male voice pitch on long-term memory in women: evidence of adaptation for mate choice? Memory & Cognition. DOI 10.1007/s13421-011-0136-6
Related Mate Choice Current Events and Mate Choice News Articles
White silk wrappings key to female spider's heart
It's not only what's inside the nuptial gift that a potential suitor brings to a female Paratrechalea ornata spider that counts. It's the whole package, white silk wrappings and all, that can give one male spider the edge over another.
Biological Fitness Trumps Other Traits in Mating Game
When a new species emerges following adaptive changes to its local environment, the process of choosing a mate can help protect the new species' genetic identity and increase the likelihood of its survival.
Big feet preference in rural Indonesia defies one-size-fits-all theory of attractiveness
People in most cultures view women with small feet as attractive. Like smooth skin or an hourglass figure, petite feet signal a potential mate's youth and fertility.
Mate choice in mice is heavily influenced by paternal cues
Mate choice is a key factor in the evolution of new animal species. The choice of a specific mate can decisively influence the evolutionary development of a species.
Gender Equality Influences How People Choose Their Partners
Men and women clearly have different strategies for picking sexual partners, but the reason why differences exist is less clear.
SF State researchers probe asymmetric warfare between earwigs
Symmetrical looks are highly prized in the animal kingdom, but according to a new report by San Francisco State University biologists on an insect called the maritime earwig, asymmetry might come with its own perks.
Hormone-mimicking chemicals cause inter-species mating
Hormone-mimicking chemicals released into rivers have been found to impact the mating choices of fish, a new study has revealed.
They call it 'guppy love': UCLA biologists solve an evolution mystery
Guppies in the wild have evolved over at least half-a-million years - long enough for the males' coloration to have changed dramatically. Yet a characteristic orange patch on male guppies has remained remarkably stable, though it could have become redder or more yellow.
Females choose mates for their personalities, study shows
Adventurous females choose mates with similar personalities, regardless of the male's appearance and other assets, according to research led by the University of Exeter.
Can gulls smell out a good partner?
Male and female kittiwakes smell different from each other, according to research by Sarah Leclaire from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique at the Université Paul Sabatier in France and her team.
More Mate Choice Current Events and Mate Choice News Articles