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What sounds beautiful is good: The vocal attractiveness stereotype

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Abstract

Two studies examined the effects of attractiveness of voice and physical appearance on impressions of personality. Subject-senders were videotaped as they read a standard-content text (Study 1) or randomly selected texts (Study 2). Judges rated the senders' vocal attractiveness from the auditory portion of the tape and their physical attractiveness from the visual portion of the tape. Other judges rated the senders' personality on the basis of their voice, face, or face plus voice. Senders with more attractive voices were rated more favorably in both the voice and face plus voice conditions; senders with more attractive faces were rated more favorably in both the face and face plus voice conditions. The effects of both vocal and physical attractiveness were more pronounced in the single channels (voice condition and face condition, respectively) than in the multiple channel (face plus voice condition). Possible antecedents and consequences of the vocal attractiveness stereotype are discussed. p]Her voice was ever soft, gentle, and low, an excellent thing in woman.

Shakespeare (King Lear, Act V, Sc. 3)

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This research was supported in part by National Institute Mental Health Grant RO1 MH40498-01A2. The authors would like to thank Thomas J. Hernandez, James R. Laguzza, Andrea Lurier, and Mary Elizabeth Sementilli for running the videotaping sessions in Study 1, and Craig B. Partyka, Kimberly A. Radoane, and Kelly B. Sanborn for running the videotaping sessions in Study 2. Grateful acknowledgment is extended to Kate Johnson and Michael Zygmuntowicz for running rating sessions in Study 2, to BiancaMaria Penati for running rating sessions and coding data in Study 2, and to Bradley C. Olson for his assistance with data analysis.

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Zuckerman, M., Driver, R.E. What sounds beautiful is good: The vocal attractiveness stereotype. J Nonverbal Behav 13, 67–82 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00990791

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