Perceptions of competence, strength, and age influence Voters to select leaders with lower-pitched voices

Casey A Klofstad, Rindy C. Anderson, Stephen Nowicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Voters prefer leaders with lower-pitched voices because they are perceived as stronger, having greater physical prowess, more competent, and having greater integrity. An alternative hypothesis that has yet to be tested is that lower-pitched voices are perceived as older and thus wiser and more experienced. Here the relationships between candidate voice pitch, candidate age, and electoral success are examined with two experiments. Study 1 tests whether voters discriminate on candidate age. The results show that male and female candidates in their 40s and 50s, the time in the lifecycle when voice pitch is at its lowest, are preferred over candidates in their 30s, 60s, and 70s. Study 2 shows that the preference for leaders with lower-pitched voices correlates with the perception that speakers with lower voices are stronger, more competent, and older, but the influence of perception of age on vote choice is the weakest of the three.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0133779
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 7 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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