Dr. Sethu Karthikeyan and Catherine Mastricovo
“Articulatory clarity, vocal pitch and dominance-judgments of male speech”
June 28, 2013
Dr. Sethu Karthikeyan and I will be working as a team to carry out a study titled “Articulatory clarity, vocal pitch and dominance-judgments of male speech.” We aim to study acoustic measures related to pitch, loudness and rate of speech. Sethu and I will look at the association between these acoustic measures and evaluations of dominance. Although there have been studies relating vocal pitch and dominance (e.g., Puts et al. 2007), as far as we know, we will be the first to introduce another acoustic factor, “articulation strength/clarity”* into these kinds of studies. The idea was originally suggested by John L. Locke (e.g., Locke, 2008).
Participants will listen to previously recorded speech samples of men, and will rate them for dominance using 100-point scales. The male speech samples will be analyzed acoustically using Multi-Speech software. Through our research, we plan to study those aspects of communication that unconsciously influence our personality and aesthetic judgments. Ultimately we hope that our work will help us gain insight into the speaking behavior from an evolutionary perspective. I am excited to be involved in this research.
Sethu and I have submitted the IRB application, and as soon as we receive the approval we will begin the study. In the meantime we will be doing a detailed literature review. Currently I am reading two articles “Men’s voices as dominance signals: vocal fundamental and formant frequencies influence dominance attributions among men” and “Voice pitch and the labor market success of male chief executive officers” (references included). I am eager and thankful to be a part of something new and influential here at Pace University, and I know that I will learn so much from my brilliant mentor.
Locke, J. L. (2008). Cost and complexity: selection for speech and language. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 251, 640-652.
Mayew, W. J., Parsons, C. A., Venkatachalam, M. (2013). Voice pitch and the labor market success of male chief executive officers. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 34, 243-248.
Puts, D. A., Hodges, C. R., Cardenas, R. A., & Gaulin, S. J. C. (2007). Men’s voice as dominance signals: vocal and fundamental and formant frequencies influence dominance attributions among men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 340-344.
 Articulation refers to the motor movements involved in speech production, and vocal pitch (tone) refers to how low or high a person’s voice is.