Noah Zandan

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Can Vocal Pitch Explain and Predict Presidential Election Choices?

It is well known that non-human animals respond to information encoded in vocal pitch, and the same can be said of humans. We may not realize it, but human voice pitch affects how speakers are perceived. As such, does voice pitch affect how we perceive and select our leaders?

A study from The Royal Society digitally manipulated the vocal pitches of men and women asking for votes and their results demonstrated that men and women with lower-pitched voices may be more successful in obtaining positions of leadership. This study also inferred that because women, on average, have higher-pitched voices than men, voice pitch could be a factor that explains why fewer women hold leadership roles than men.

Studies like this demonstrate that election preferences may be based on more than party or issues. Biological influences can potentially explain voter preferences.

So if vocal pitch can predict or explain voter preferences, which one of the presidential candidates has a lower vocal pitch? We analyzed recent stump speeches by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney using our vocal pitch technology and discovered that Mitt Romney in fact has a 20% lower average pitch. Visual representation of both candidates' vocal pitch contours is below.

 

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