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Men and Women with Masculine Voices are Preferred as Leaders by People

Update Date: Dec 13, 2012 01:22 PM EST

A new study suggests that apart from all the leadership qualities that one may possess like right attitude, planning and implementation and an ability to motivate a team to work, it may also be helpful if he/she had a masculine voice. According to the study, people prefer male and female leaders with masculine voices.

However, even in leadership roles that are typically held by women, both sexes prefer a woman leader with a low-pitched voice, the study suggests.

Studies conducted earlier have shown that people prefer leaders with more masculine voices. However, this new research investigated what happens when the leadership position is one that is typically held by women, or perceived as more feminine, such as being a school board member or president of a parent-teacher association, Medical Xpress reports.

For the study, researchers asked volunteers to listen to voices in the case of hypothetical elections for such positions. The volunteers heard the phrase "I urge you to vote for me this November" spoken by two voices that differed only in their pitch.

The findings revealed that both men and women preferred female candidates with masculine voices. Men also seemed to prefer men with masculine voices but women did not seem to discriminate between the male voices they heard.

The authors suggest that the influence of voice pitch on perceptions of leadership capacity is consistent across different domains of leadership and independent of social context.

"We often do not consider how our biology can influence our decision making. The results of this study show that voice pitch - a physiological characteristic - can affect how we select our leaders," Casey Klofstad from the University of Miami explained.

The study was published Dec. 12 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

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