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Can you tell if someone is gay by listening?

themohawkninja
Posts: 816
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12/10/2013 7:00:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
In the documentary The Science of Sex Appeal, it mentions how the pitch of a person's voice affects how attractive they are, with low-pitched males scoring higher than high-pitched males, and high-pitched females scored higher than low-pitched females. Now, while the study mainly focused on heterosexual people, I began to research whether or not this same "vocal attraction" can work with homosexuals. Since a major factor in homosexuality is which hormone is flooded throughout the brain during development, and that same process is a major factor in voice pitch, homosexual males should naturally have higher pitched voices. This heightened pitch could be a way to let other homosexual males distinguish homosexual males from heterosexual males just as a women would be more attracted to the more deeply pitched male.

Unfortunately, little research has been done on this topic, even though it is testing a modern (if not older) stereotype of homosexual males (the stereotype that their voices are effeminate). That being said, I did come across a study that, while barely constituting enough people to be scientific (only 30 people), it did come up with these results:

"On average, gay men sounded significantly more "gay" than heterosexual men. This difference was highly significant and large in effect size. As such, listeners were able to judge sexual orientation from voice samples with moderate accuracy (68.5%). Moreover, how gay a man sounded correlated positively with the extent to which he recalled a gender nonconforming childhood (though not with his "outness," as some theories would have predicted), and this was true for both gay as well as heterosexual men. Indeed, childhood gender nonconformity accounted for almost 30% of the variance in the voice ratings."

"Broken down by sexual orientation, 75% of the heterosexual speakers were correctly classified, while 63% of the gay speakers were correctly classified."

This result does give evidence to support the stereotype that homosexual males do tend to have a higher pitched voice than heterosexual ones do.

Any thoughts on this? (Please try to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of: "I can't believe you just said that gay people have effeminate voices!")

1. http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu...
"Morals are simply a limit to man's potential."~Myself

Political correctness is like saying you can't have a steak, because a baby can't eat one ~Unknown
TheOncomingStorm
Posts: 249
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12/10/2013 7:20:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/10/2013 7:00:44 PM, themohawkninja wrote:
In the documentary The Science of Sex Appeal, it mentions how the pitch of a person's voice affects how attractive they are, with low-pitched males scoring higher than high-pitched males, and high-pitched females scored higher than low-pitched females. Now, while the study mainly focused on heterosexual people, I began to research whether or not this same "vocal attraction" can work with homosexuals. Since a major factor in homosexuality is which hormone is flooded throughout the brain during development, and that same process is a major factor in voice pitch, homosexual males should naturally have higher pitched voices. This heightened pitch could be a way to let other homosexual males distinguish homosexual males from heterosexual males just as a women would be more attracted to the more deeply pitched male.

Unfortunately, little research has been done on this topic, even though it is testing a modern (if not older) stereotype of homosexual males (the stereotype that their voices are effeminate). That being said, I did come across a study that, while barely constituting enough people to be scientific (only 30 people), it did come up with these results:

"On average, gay men sounded significantly more "gay" than heterosexual men. This difference was highly significant and large in effect size. As such, listeners were able to judge sexual orientation from voice samples with moderate accuracy (68.5%). Moreover, how gay a man sounded correlated positively with the extent to which he recalled a gender nonconforming childhood (though not with his "outness," as some theories would have predicted), and this was true for both gay as well as heterosexual men. Indeed, childhood gender nonconformity accounted for almost 30% of the variance in the voice ratings."

"Broken down by sexual orientation, 75% of the heterosexual speakers were correctly classified, while 63% of the gay speakers were correctly classified."

This result does give evidence to support the stereotype that homosexual males do tend to have a higher pitched voice than heterosexual ones do.

Any thoughts on this? (Please try to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of: "I can't believe you just said that gay people have effeminate voices!")

1. http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu...

Well, stereotypes come from somewhere. Granted, stereotypes are in no way proper ways of judgement, but the correlation is interesting. I personally love voice analyzation, so this article is obviously of interest to me.
Official "Director of Weather and Hyperbole in the Maximum Degree of Mice and Men" of the FREEDO bureaucracy.
James.Price
Posts: 109
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12/10/2013 9:20:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I find that I often can identify fairly accurately where a person falls on the sexual orientation spectrum by their manner of speaking. Lesbians, in particular, seem to have a unique "accent" or intonation that I can recognize, but I cannot describe very well. I have two close relatives of mine who are lesbians, and they share this unique speaking pattern.

However, I would never suggest that this would be a 'good' way to pick any homoamorous person from a crowd. That would be megalomaniacally stupid of me.

The closest I can come to explaining what this speaking pattern sounds like is to say that two very well-known lesbians also speak as my daughter and her grandmother do. They are Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow, two women from different regions of the country, both with this distinctive undertone that you can tune your ear to detect.

I stress again that it is not a reliable method to "out" anyone, but a small signal that might matter if other factors are also present.
ADreamOfLiberty
Posts: 1,570
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12/11/2013 11:41:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I worked with someone for a year before I knew they were homosexual. Maybe I'm just not a good observer of human behavior but I would doubt this is true. Men can be in touch with their feminine side without being bi or homosexual ditto for women.
LOL, yeah, it's pretty amazing how they think they can "reason" with you. - Sidewalker, speaking of advocates for sexual deviancy.

So, my advice, Liberty, is to go somewhere else. Leave, and never come back. - YYW

And that's what I did. Contact me at http://www.edeb8.com... by the same user name if you have anything you'd like to say.
Dragonfang
Posts: 1,122
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12/11/2013 12:50:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Stereotyping... I agree that they can be entertaining, but we should just stop it.

If they are similarities, it is probably due to being in the same sub-culture, not because of their sexual behavior somehow changed the way they speak.
themohawkninja
Posts: 816
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12/11/2013 1:41:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/11/2013 12:50:32 PM, Dragonfang wrote:
Stereotyping... I agree that they can be entertaining, but we should just stop it.

If they are similarities, it is probably due to being in the same sub-culture, not because of their sexual behavior somehow changed the way they speak.

The culture is a factor, as those who were open about it did have a more 'gayer' voice, but there was still a statistically significant number of homosexuals that weren't necessarily open that were still correctly identified.

Also, you can't physically stop stereotyping. It's a natural function of the human brain.
"Morals are simply a limit to man's potential."~Myself

Political correctness is like saying you can't have a steak, because a baby can't eat one ~Unknown
themohawkninja
Posts: 816
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12/11/2013 1:42:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/11/2013 11:41:00 AM, ADreamOfLiberty wrote:
I worked with someone for a year before I knew they were homosexual. Maybe I'm just not a good observer of human behavior but I would doubt this is true. Men can be in touch with their feminine side without being bi or homosexual ditto for women.

Being in touch with ones feminine side, and having a 'gay' voice are two different things. The voices are majorly determined by hormonal factors.
"Morals are simply a limit to man's potential."~Myself

Political correctness is like saying you can't have a steak, because a baby can't eat one ~Unknown