October 19, 2008
Ovulation Raises Pitch Of Women's Voices

Women have higher pitched voices around ovulation.

A woman's voice tends to rise in pitch the closer she is to ovulation according to research published today in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters. Researchers believe this is because a higher pitch is more attractive and more feminine, thus signalling fertility to potential partners.

Scientists at the University of California recorded the voices of 69 women to examine whether they raise their voice pitch during ovulation. Using hormone tests the women were recorded at two phases of their ovulatory cycle, once when fertility was low and once near ovulation. Results showed that the closer women were to ovulation, the more they raised their pitch.

Interestingly, this difference was apparent only when women spoke a simple introductory sentence such as 'hi, I'm a student at UCLA' - and not for simple vowel sounds. According to the researchers this shows that women change their voice in relation to fertility and possibly only in social communication contexts.

The findings follow other recent studies which have documented several detectable ovulatory cues in humans, including midcycle increases in body scent attractiveness, flirtation and attention to style of dress.

A 2006 report also finds that women are slaves to their hormones. Just like men.

Thirty-eight normally cycling women provided daily reports of sexual interests and feelings for 35 days. Near ovulation, both pair-bonded and single women reported feeling more physically attractive and having greater interest in attending social gatherings where they might meet men. Pair-bonded women who were near ovulation reported greater extra-pair flirtation and greater mate guarding by their primary partner. As predicted, however, these effects were exhibited primarily by women who perceived their partners to be low on hypothesized good genes indicators (low in sexual attractiveness relative to investment attractiveness). Ovulation-contingent increases in partner mate guarding were also moderated by female physical attractiveness; midcycle increases in mate guarding were experienced primarily by less attractive women, whereas more attractive women experienced relatively high levels of mate guarding throughout their cycle. These findings demonstrate ovulation-contingent shifts in desires and behaviors that are sensitive to varying fitness payoffs, and they provide support for the good genes hypothesis of human female extra-pair mating.

So guys, if you want a girlfriend who gets jealous over you then go for a less attractive woman.

What I want to know: Since the birth control pill prevents ovulation does it reduce the desire of women to dress up? Also, does it lower the average pitch of women's voices?

Once we gain the ability to manipulate the mental switches that cause mating behavior will women choose to put themselves perpetually in the mental state they normally feel just around ovulation? Or will they put themselves in other mental states less oriented toward mating? I'm wondering whether we'll still have lots of sexy dressing women 50 years from now.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 October 19 02:52 PM  Brain Sexuality

K said at October 19, 2008 3:26 PM:

It would be interesting to know if the women recorded their voice alone, or in the presence of a male technician or a female. And did the pitch change for women who had just had a bad experience regardless of their cycle? In other words, were they upset about an unexpected event?

Such an event might be forced by having a rude person bother them just before they enter the test facility.

But it probably wouldn't make a difference. Especially if the pitch changed only when speaking a sentence.

Matt said at October 20, 2008 7:09 AM:

Birth control does not prevent ovulation. It prevents the egg from attaching to the uterine wall.

Jun said at October 24, 2008 7:16 AM:

"Since the birth control pill prevents ovulation does it reduce the desire of women to dress up?"

I betcha the answer to that is yes. Anecdotally: I was on the pill for a few years and had to quit taking them for medical/health reasons and I tell ya -- my whole overall mood changed literally overnight. After dropping the pill, I "decided" (free will? not!) that I ought to lose the weight I had gained over the previous few years (while I was on the pill) 'cause I thought I had become quite frumpy looking (which I had!). Once I lost the weight and got more in shape ("decided" I should start exercising regularly, too) I started wearing more flattering clothes -- 'cause I could. ;-)

Looking back on those transformative months ('bout half a year, I'd say), I'm sure they were a direct result of going off the pill.

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