Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 119–135 | Cite as

The attractive voice: What makes it so?

  • Miron Zuckerman
  • Kunitate Miyake


Previous research has shown that more attractive voices are associated with more favorable personality impressions. The present study examined which acoustic characteristics make a voice attractive. Segments of recorded voices were rated on various dimensions of voice quality, attractiveness, and personality impressions. Objective measures of voice quality were obtained from spectrogram analysis. Overall, the subjective ratings of voice quality predicted vocal attractiveness better than the objective measures. When vocal attractiveness was regressed onto both subjective and objective measures, the final regression equation included 8 subjective measures, which together accounted for 74% of the variance of the attractiveness scores. It also was found that the measures of voice quality accounted for variance in favorableness of personality impressions above and beyond the contribution of vocal attractiveness. Thus, attractiveness captures an important dimension of the voice but does not cover all aspects of voice quality.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Addington, D. W. (1968). The relationship of selected vocal characteristics to personality perception.Speech Monographs, 35 492–503.Google Scholar
  2. Aronovitch, C. D. (1976). The voice of personality: Stereotyped judgments and their relation to voice quality and sex of speaker.The Journal of Social Psychology, 99 202–207.Google Scholar
  3. Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1974). Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 7, pp. 158–215). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1985).The NEO Personality Inventory manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  5. Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (1986).Mirror, mirror ... the importance of looks in everyday life. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kramer, E. (1964). Personality stereotypes in voice: A reconsideration of the data.The Journal of Social Psychology, 62 247–251.Google Scholar
  7. Miyake, K., & Zuckerman, M. (in press). Beyond personality impressions: Effects of physical and vocal attractiveness on false consensus, social comparison, affiliation, and assumed and perceived similarity.Journal of Personality.Google Scholar
  8. Pearce, W. B., & Conklin, F. (1971). Nonverbal vocalic communication and perceptions of a speaker.Speech Monographs, 38 235–241.Google Scholar
  9. Scherer, K. R. (1974). Voice quality analysis of American and German speakers.Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 3 281–297.Google Scholar
  10. Scherer, K. R. (1978). Personality inference from voice quality: The loud voice of extroversion.European Journal of Social Psychology, 8 467–487.Google Scholar
  11. Scherer, K. R. (1979a). Voice and speech correlates of perceived social influence. In H. Giles & R. N. St. Clair (Eds.),Language and social psychology (pp. 88–120). London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  12. Scherer, K. R. (1979b). Personality markers in speech. In K.R. Scherer & H. Giles (Eds.),Social markers in speech (pp. 147–209). London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Scherer, K. R. (1982). Methods of research on vocal communication: Paradigms and parameters. In K.R. Scherer & P. Ekman (Eds.),Handbook of methods in nonverbal behavior research (pp. 136–198). London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Scherer, K. R. (1986). Vocal affect expression: A review and a model for future research.Psychological Bulletin, 99 143–165.Google Scholar
  15. Scherer, K. R., & Oshinsky, J. S. (1977). Cue utilization in emotion attribution from auditory stimuli.Motivation and Emotion, 1 331–346.Google Scholar
  16. Sereno, K. K., & Hawkins, G. J. (1967). The effects of variations in speakers' nonfluency upon audience ratings of attitude toward the speech topic and speakers' credibility.Speech Monographs, 34 58–64.Google Scholar
  17. Smith, B. L., Brown, B. L., Strong, W. J., & Rencher, A. C. (1975). Effects of speech rate on personality perception.Language and Speech, 18 1451–152.Google Scholar
  18. Zuckerman, M., & Driver, R. (1989). What sounds beautiful is good: The vocal attractiveness stereotype.Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 13 67–82.Google Scholar
  19. Zuckerman, M., & Hodgins, H. S. (1992). Developmental changes in the effects of the physical and vocal attractiveness stereotypes. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  20. Zuckerman, M., Hodgins, H., & Miyake, K. (1990). The vocal attractiveness stereotypes: Replication and elaboration.Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 14 97–112.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miron Zuckerman
    • 1
  • Kunitate Miyake
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochester

Personalised recommendations