What is more important to you, how do you see yourself or how does your voice sound? It seems that the answer is obvious. But scientists advise weighing priorities once again. The voice and the way of speaking say much more about us than our appearance, they rarely let us lie and are even capable of sabotaging or, on the contrary, favoring our professional growth.
Women can argue to the point of exhaustion about whether they like dark or blond, skinny or muscular, but when it comes to the voice, it always turns out that men with a serious voice consider themselves more attractive. As for the men themselves, it turns out that they are able to change the tone of their voice depending on the environment.
In the framework of an experiment, young men were offered to fight for an appointment with an attractive woman. The communication was carried out through a video chat, so the participant could see the woman, while her opponent, who was in another room, could only hear him. During the conversation, the participants were asked to talk about how, in their opinion, they could earn the respect of other men. After the conversation, the participants answered a series of questions about themselves, their rival and the woman.
The analysis of the audio records showed that the men’s voice varied significantly depending on how they perceived their opponent. If they considered themselves more dominant, they lowered their tone of voice, demonstrating greater confidence; if they felt at a disadvantage with respect to the opponent, they spoke in a louder voice. In both cases, the participants were not aware of what they were doing.
Can you guess the nationality of a person just by listening to their voice? Studies show that many do it quite successfully. For example, when it comes to a telephone conversation, African-Americans try to sound as “white” as possible. That is, to speak with the so-called standard accent, a standard of pronunciation with which the most prosperous part of the population is communicated. Olivia Kang, a Harvard psychologist, concluded that, if you speak using common pronunciation standards, you will automatically be perceived as a more intelligent, competent and reliable person. If your accent is different, you will be deprived of a series of social benefits.
When we hear a voice on the other side of the phone, we piece together the image of the person we are talking to. Age, sex and origin are determined very precisely. But it is interesting that we also immediately put together an idea of the character of the person.
In 2001, a study was conducted that showed that, after a telephone conversation, African-Americans were given fewer calls, fewer apartments were rented or less loans were approved. It was not an overt manifestation of racism, but subconscious processes that are barely perceptible to us.
It can not be said that this “accentual misunderstanding” only concerns the United States. It will be enough to think of a person who spoke to you with an accent in your mother tongue, and then remember the first association you had with her. Unfortunately, it is hardly the most pleasant. All this makes us think if it is not the time for us to learn to listen to others in a more conscious way.