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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews studies on voice attractiveness from evolutionary, social, and cognitive neuroscience perspectives. Taking this interdisciplinary approach, it explores what makes a voice attractive, and why it matters. Focusing largely on men and women’s preferences for sex-typical sexually dimorphic features in the voice (vocal masculinity and femininity), the chapter discusses the evolutionary underpinnings of fundamental and formant frequencies as vocal indicators of quality. It reviews the many ways in which social, physiological, and neurocognitive mechanisms can combine to influence what we perceive as attractive, from selection on perceivers to choose high-quality mates and cooperative affiliates, to the influence of social context and perceptual biases. For example, fluency of processing and mere exposure effects may drive preferences for average voices. Other topics of discussion include voice modulation, cross-modality in voice and face attractiveness, cross-cultural and individual variation in voice preferences, and the implications of voice attractiveness on reproductive and socioeconomic success.

Keywords: voice, attractive, sexual selection, mate preferences, fundamental frequency, formant, vocal masculinity, vocal femininity, voice averageness, face attractiveness

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