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FEATURE ARTICLE

How Voice Pitch Influences Our Choice of Leaders

Candidates’ vocal characteristics influence voters’ attitudes toward them.

Casey A. Klofstad, Stephen Nowicki, Rindy C. Anderson

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The idea that listeners are affected not just by the words we say, but also by how we say them, should come as no surprise: We all can think of instances in which the same words said with different inflections can mean very different things. What is more surprising is that subtle characteristics of speech—features of which we are hardly aware—can have a significant impact on our perceptions of a person, even in contexts where we might think these perceptions should be irrelevant. Our research explores one such context that is particularly topical in this 2016 election season: how vocal traits, specifically voice pitch, can influence our selection of leaders.


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