Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Behavioral Neuroscience

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 95 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Gordon G Gallup

Committee Members

Susan M Hughes, Christine K Wagner


Attraction, Body Masculinity, Menstrual cycle, Voice Masculinity, Human body, Voice, Change of, Interpersonal attraction, Sexual attraction

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology


A growing body of literature has shown that variation in the sound of a person's voice conveys important information about our underlying biology. The present studies further investigate how the human voice can be used as a medium that disseminates characteristics related to mate quality and attraction. The human voice has been shown to be affected by cyclic hormonal fluctuations across the menstrual cycle, and raters show preferences for voice recordings at heightened fertility times compared to other times during the menstrual cycle. In the current studies, this finding was replicated multiple times and less masculine males were found to show more accuracy and also had stronger and less fluctuation in preferences for female voices recorded at high fertility compared to low fertility. Although voice preferences were shown at high fertility times (i.e., ovulatory) instead of low fertility times (i.e., menstrual), the time of menstruation was subsequently targeted and shown to affect male vocal attributions, over and above any other cyclic time. The perception of female age across the menstrual cycle was also explored. Differences in age perception did not fluctuate from low to high fertility status and had little to do with differences in attractiveness ratings that do vary across the menstrual cycle. The next study investigated how body and voice characteristics in males have the capacity to convey similar information, albeit through different sensory modalities. This was explored through the examination of male body morphology and voice acoustics taken from standardized, natural, non-competitive voice recordings. Various male body and acoustic traits indicative of masculinity were found to covary, and female attractiveness ratings of these male voices depended on their hormonal contraception use. Over and above the visual domain, vocal production seems to provide important information related to mate attraction and quality for both males and females.