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The Sound of Voice: Voice-Based Categorization of Speakers' Sexual Orientation within and across Languages.

Sulpizio S, Fasoli F, Maass A, Paladino MP, Vespignani F, Eyssel F, Bentler D - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We found that listeners were unable to identify the speakers' sexual orientation correctly.Moreover, a similar pattern of results emerged when listeners judged the sexual orientation of speakers of their own and of the foreign language.Results are discussed with regard to accuracy, acoustic features of voices, language dependency and language specificity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Trento, Italy; Fondazione Marica De Vincenzi ONLUS, Rovereto (TN), Italy.

ABSTRACT
Empirical research had initially shown that English listeners are able to identify the speakers' sexual orientation based on voice cues alone. However, the accuracy of this voice-based categorization, as well as its generalizability to other languages (language-dependency) and to non-native speakers (language-specificity), has been questioned recently. Consequently, we address these open issues in 5 experiments: First, we tested whether Italian and German listeners are able to correctly identify sexual orientation of same-language male speakers. Then, participants of both nationalities listened to voice samples and rated the sexual orientation of both Italian and German male speakers. We found that listeners were unable to identify the speakers' sexual orientation correctly. However, speakers were consistently categorized as either heterosexual or gay on the basis of how they sounded. Moreover, a similar pattern of results emerged when listeners judged the sexual orientation of speakers of their own and of the foreign language. Overall, this research suggests that voice-based categorization of sexual orientation reflects the listeners' expectations of how gay voices sound rather than being an accurate detector of the speakers' actual sexual identity. Results are discussed with regard to accuracy, acoustic features of voices, language dependency and language specificity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

German listeners & German speakers.Listeners’ perception in terms of gaynessscore (4A) and ratings (4B). Different colors indicate the two clusters based on listeners’ perception. Stars (and points) indicate speakers that were significantly perceived either as heterosexual or gay (. < .1; * <.05; ** <.01; *** <.001). Higher values of the y-axis indicate perceived gayity, lower values perceived heterosexuality; .5 represents chance level.
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pone.0128882.g004: German listeners & German speakers.Listeners’ perception in terms of gaynessscore (4A) and ratings (4B). Different colors indicate the two clusters based on listeners’ perception. Stars (and points) indicate speakers that were significantly perceived either as heterosexual or gay (. < .1; * <.05; ** <.01; *** <.001). Higher values of the y-axis indicate perceived gayity, lower values perceived heterosexuality; .5 represents chance level.

Mentions: Regardless of the self-identified SO, some speakers were more likely to be categorized as heterosexual and others as gay (Fig 4) and, for most of the speakers, this was different from chance. Comparing responses to chance, 4 of the heterosexual speakers were correctly identified as heterosexual and one was incorrectly perceived as gay. Of the gay speakers, two were misidentified as heterosexual and only one was correctly identified as gay.


The Sound of Voice: Voice-Based Categorization of Speakers' Sexual Orientation within and across Languages.

Sulpizio S, Fasoli F, Maass A, Paladino MP, Vespignani F, Eyssel F, Bentler D - PLoS ONE (2015)

German listeners & German speakers.Listeners’ perception in terms of gaynessscore (4A) and ratings (4B). Different colors indicate the two clusters based on listeners’ perception. Stars (and points) indicate speakers that were significantly perceived either as heterosexual or gay (. < .1; * <.05; ** <.01; *** <.001). Higher values of the y-axis indicate perceived gayity, lower values perceived heterosexuality; .5 represents chance level.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4488841&req=5

pone.0128882.g004: German listeners & German speakers.Listeners’ perception in terms of gaynessscore (4A) and ratings (4B). Different colors indicate the two clusters based on listeners’ perception. Stars (and points) indicate speakers that were significantly perceived either as heterosexual or gay (. < .1; * <.05; ** <.01; *** <.001). Higher values of the y-axis indicate perceived gayity, lower values perceived heterosexuality; .5 represents chance level.
Mentions: Regardless of the self-identified SO, some speakers were more likely to be categorized as heterosexual and others as gay (Fig 4) and, for most of the speakers, this was different from chance. Comparing responses to chance, 4 of the heterosexual speakers were correctly identified as heterosexual and one was incorrectly perceived as gay. Of the gay speakers, two were misidentified as heterosexual and only one was correctly identified as gay.

Bottom Line: We found that listeners were unable to identify the speakers' sexual orientation correctly.Moreover, a similar pattern of results emerged when listeners judged the sexual orientation of speakers of their own and of the foreign language.Results are discussed with regard to accuracy, acoustic features of voices, language dependency and language specificity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, Trento, Italy; Fondazione Marica De Vincenzi ONLUS, Rovereto (TN), Italy.

ABSTRACT
Empirical research had initially shown that English listeners are able to identify the speakers' sexual orientation based on voice cues alone. However, the accuracy of this voice-based categorization, as well as its generalizability to other languages (language-dependency) and to non-native speakers (language-specificity), has been questioned recently. Consequently, we address these open issues in 5 experiments: First, we tested whether Italian and German listeners are able to correctly identify sexual orientation of same-language male speakers. Then, participants of both nationalities listened to voice samples and rated the sexual orientation of both Italian and German male speakers. We found that listeners were unable to identify the speakers' sexual orientation correctly. However, speakers were consistently categorized as either heterosexual or gay on the basis of how they sounded. Moreover, a similar pattern of results emerged when listeners judged the sexual orientation of speakers of their own and of the foreign language. Overall, this research suggests that voice-based categorization of sexual orientation reflects the listeners' expectations of how gay voices sound rather than being an accurate detector of the speakers' actual sexual identity. Results are discussed with regard to accuracy, acoustic features of voices, language dependency and language specificity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus