Low Pitched Voices Are Perceived as Masculine and Attractive but Do They Predict Semen Quality in Men?
Leigh W. Simmons1,2*, Marianne Peters1,2,Gillian Rhodes2
1 Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Animal Biology (M092), University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia, 2 ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
Women find masculinity in men's faces, bodies, and voices attractive, and women's preferences for men's masculine features are thought to be biological adaptations for finding a high quality mate. Fertility is an important aspect of mate quality. Here we test the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis, which proposes that male secondary sexual characters are positively related to semen quality, allowing females to obtain direct benefits from mate choice. Specifically, we examined women's preferences for men's voice pitch, and its relationship with men's semen quality. Consistent with previous voice research, women judged lower pitched voices as more masculine and more attractive. However men with lower pitched voices did not have better semen quality. On the contrary, men whose voices were rated as more attractive tended to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate. These data are more consistent with a trade off between sperm production and male investment in competing for and attracting females, than with the phenotype-linked fertility hypothesis.
Citation: Simmons LW, Peters M, Rhodes G (2011) Low Pitched Voices Are Perceived as Masculine and Attractive but Do They Predict Semen Quality in Men? PLoS ONE 6(12): e29271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029271
Editor: Jerson Laks, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Received: October 5, 2011; Accepted: November 23, 2011; Published: December 21, 2011
Copyright: © 2011 Simmons et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: This work was supported by Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowships to Gillian Rhodes and Leigh Simmons. It was also supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Cognition and its Disorders (project number CE110001021). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
* E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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