FOR SINGLES: How Lovers Change Their Voices

contact-1You might notice that when you are in love and in an intimate relationship with someone your voice changes subtly. But did you know that others are able to detect this too? In a new study from Susan Hughes, Ph.D. of Albright College, twenty-four people were asked to telephone a lover and then a platonic same-sex friend and simply ask benign questions about how their day was going.

Then eighty strangers were asked to listen to short clips of the one-sided phone conversations, sometimes as brief as two seconds. Not surprisingly, people newly in love were detected with reliable accuracy. As it turns out, the lovers tended to mimic each other, that is, the men’s voices became higher and the women’s voices got a bit lower. The researchers suspect that mirroring each other conveys the idea of “I am one with you.”

But the other thing the study participants were able to identify was nervousness, lack of confidence, and vulnerability, true markers of early love when relationship stability has not been established yet. It’s the fear of rejection that tends to come out in lover’s voices.

When two people are falling in love, the emotional stakes are high. The fear of rejection as two people become vulnerable with each other is enormous. Adjusting vocal pitch is one way that lovers bond.

The researchers suggest that practical implications of the research might be as a cheater detector. In other words, your partner may ensure that a certain associate is “only a friend” but if your gut tells you something different, it may be because you overheard the subtle change in vocal tone.

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