Speaking with a Happy Voice Makes You Sound Younger

  •  Sumi Shigeno    


This study investigates the effects of emotional voices (expressing neutral emotion, sadness, and happiness) on a judgement of a speaker’s age. An experiment was conducted to explore whether happy voices sound younger than neutral and sad voices. The identification of 24 speakers’ ages (12 of each gender) based on their emotional voices was done by 40 participants. The speakers’ ages were 24-75 years. Participants identified the age of each speaker only by hearing his/her emotional voice. The results showed that when a speaker spoke with a happy voice, participants estimated their age to be younger than their chronological age. Furthermore, the results regarding female happy voices were more conspicuous than male happy voices. In contrast, when a speaker spoke with a sad voice, participants estimated them to be older. The results suggest that a happy voice sounds younger because of its higher voice pitch (F0). We discussed the role of vocal pitch and other paralinguistic factors for providing an aging impression.

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