If you’ve ever uttered the phrase, “Men are like dogs!” – you don’t know how RIGHT you are. According to LiveScience.com, men act like dogs to determine dominance. For example, a male dog will whine and beg if he doesn’t think he can take on a stronger dog. But if he thinks he has a fighting chance, the dog will lower his voice into a guttural growl.
A new study from the University of Pittsburgh finds that men LOWER their voice when talking to another man they believe to be weaker than they are, in order to show authority. Also, the lower the pitch of a man’s voice, the more physically dominant other men think he is, even if he’s smaller than they are.
In the study, over 100 college men took part in what they thought was a competition against another guy for a date with an attractive woman. The “other guy” was the same person for each participant, and his voice was recorded – so the men didn’t know his body type. He wasn’t actually present during the experiment. The researchers took a baseline reading of the participants’ voices. Then they had each one listen to the recorded voice and respond to the man on the other end, who was giving reasons why he was the better date choice. The results?
The researchers found that the men who thought they were more physically dominant than the competitor - based only on the sound of his voice - used a lower vocal pitch when responding to him. But the men who thought themselves to be physically weaker tended to raise it.
Study leader David Puts says just like whining dogs, a man raising the pitch of his voice to someone more dominant is an unconscious way of showing respect and admiration. But Puts says these vocal changes have more to do with physical dominance than social dominance, which is determined through traits like intelligence and social skills. So, a man who lowers his voice when talking to another man doesn’t necessarily think he’s smarter or friendlier than the other guy, just that he’s stronger.