It’s no surprise that human speakers with a deeper voice are typically seen as having higher status. A new study in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests lowering your pitch also increases how you perceive yourself and makes you feel more powerful.
Photo by The US Army.
In a series of tests, 81 students were divided into groups and asked to read text aloud at either a lower or higher pitch. In general, the students who spoke in a deep voice were perceived as more powerful by both themselves and their peers.
In one variation of the experiment, the participants also completed memory tasks to test a theory that powerful people are more abstract thinkers. As it turns out, even pretending you’re more powerful with a deeper voice has an effect on your thinking as well.
The implications are summed up by the researchers simply:
This would add a simple and generally available instrument to your strategic arsenal: your own voice. The lowering of your own voice could then be used not only to influence others but also to influence yourself.
Lowering the pitch of your voice could come in handy when dealing with customer service, authority figures, or when giving a presentation. Just don’t let the Barry White voice stick around too long.
Want to feel more powerful? Do a Barry White impression [BPS Research Digest]