Infidelity is in your voice

The Eagles sang, “there ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes”. There is some truth in that, undoubtedly the eyes are the window to the soul so they probably do betray your deeper feelings and may well reveal if the love has gone and you are cheating on your partner. What the eyes don’t do though is predict your likelihood of committing an infidelity in the future and that is where your voice comes in.

In evolutionary terms it makes sense that we would have developed ways to identify people who are likely to be unfaithful. In modern terms infidelity is costly in terms of the emotional impact, financial costs, and the loss of the security and support of a family unit. While the costs may have been slightly different in our evolutionary past, the costs of infidelity have been present ever since we decided to give monogamy a go. So to avoid these costs you don’t want to wait to find your partner involved with someone else, or even to see the betrayal in their eyes; you want to know in the first place that your partner is unlikely to cheat on you. According to a new study one of the ways that we have developed to divine this is the sound of the voice.

For the study subjects listened to two versions of the same voice that had been manipulated electronically to be higher and lower in pitch. The subjects were asked for each pair of voices to estimate which one was more likely to commit sexual adultery.

The findings were quite uniform: lower pitched male voices were deemed as being more likely to cheat while higher pitched women’s voices were perceived as belonging to women who were more likely to cheat.

The reason for this is believed to be that higher testosterone levels lead to lower pitched voices and higher oestrogen levels lead to higher pitched voices. Since high levels of either of these sex hormones increase libido then voice pitch has become a marker indicating libido and therefore likelihood for betrayal.

It is all another indicator of the remarkably complex relationship between your physiology and your mind. What may seem simple matters of higher order personal preference often contain a component of primitive genetic survivalism. The other important lesson here is to keep your voice modulated to the mid-range on your first date: there’s no sense in scaring anyone off too early. It also offers you another handy “out” if things aren’t working out, “It’s not you, it’s your cheating voice”.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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