Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/28615
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A house of cards: bias in perception of body size mediates the relationship between voice pitch and perceptions of dominance
Author(s): Armstrong, Marie M
Lee, Anthony J
Feinberg, David R
Contact Email: anthony.lee@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: bias
body size
dominance
formant
formidability
fundamental
height
pitch
sensory exploitation
voice
Issue Date: 31-Jan-2019
Citation: Armstrong MM, Lee AJ & Feinberg DR (2019) A house of cards: bias in perception of body size mediates the relationship between voice pitch and perceptions of dominance. Animal Behaviour, 147, pp. 43-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.11.005
Abstract: Theories of the evolution of low voice pitch in men are based on the idea that voice pitch is an honest indicator of physical dominance, but relationships among pitch, physical body size and strength among same sex adults voice are weak and unstable. Nevertheless, judgements of body size based on voice pitch are the result of perceptual bias that low frequencies sound large. If dominance judgements are based in part on perception of size, then dominance perception could also be the result of perceptual bias. Thus, we tested if the relationship between voice pitch and judgements of height mediated the relationship between voice pitch and dominance judgements. The relationship between voice pitch and perceived height fully mediated the relationship between voice pitch and dominance. This was driven by the portion of variance that was inaccurate in height perception (i.e. residual error), and not conditional upon actual height, or perceptions thereof. Collectively our results demonstrate that the relationship between voice pitch and perceived dominance is not based on observation of real world relationships between physical size and voice pitch, but rather based on a bias to perceive low pitched voices as large people. Hence, the relationship between dominance and voice pitch is coincidental rather than causal. Thus, since the relationship between physical dominance and voice pitch is conditional upon the relationship between a biased perception of body size, voice pitch is not an honest indicator of physical dominance. Consequently, the evolution of low pitch in men’s voices cannot be explained by selection for accurate dominance cues.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.11.005
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Accepted refereed manuscript of: Armstrong M, Lee A & Feinberg D (2019) A house of cards: bias in perception of body size mediates the relationship between voice pitch and perceptions of dominance. Animal Behaviour, 147, pp. 43-51. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.11.005 © 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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