Voice pitch predicts electability, but does not signal leadership ability

Casey A Klofstad, Rindy C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Voice pitch, the perceived "highness" or "lowness" of a voice, influences how humans perceive and treat each other in various ways. One example is the selection of leaders. A growing number of studies, both experimental and observational, show that individuals with lower-pitched voices are more likely to win elected office. This leads to the yet untested question of whether individuals with lower voices are actually better leaders. That is, is voice pitch a reliable signal of leadership ability? Here we address this question with an observational study of the vocal pitch and leadership ability of elected officials, and an experiment where subjects were asked to respond to persuasive political policy statements made by speakers with different pitched voices. Both studies lead to the same conclusion: voice pitch does not correlate with leadership ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Leadership
  • Perception
  • Persuasion
  • Voice pitch
  • Vote choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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