Women perceive men with low-pitched voices as those who are least likely to marry and most likely to cheat, so women are more attracted to them for short-term relationships, researchers at McMaster University, Canada, have found.
The study offers insight into the evolution of the human voice and how we choose our mates. "The sound of someone's voice can affect how we think of them," said Jillian O'Connor, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and lead author of the study.
"Until now, it's been unclear why women would like the voices of men who might cheat. But we found that the more women thought these men would cheat, the more they were attracted to them for a brief relationship when they are less worried about fidelity," O'Connor said.
For the study, 87 women listened to men's voices that were manipulated electronically to sound higher or lower, and then chose who they thought was more likely to cheat on their romantic partner.
Researchers also asked the participants to choose the voice they thought was more attractive for a long-term versus a short-term relationship.
"From an evolutionary perspective, these perceptions of future sexual infidelity may be adaptive," said David Feinberg, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour.
"The consequences of infidelity are very high whether it is emotional or financial and this research suggests that humans have evolved as a protection mechanism to avoid long-term partners who may cheat," he added.