Nobody likes a cheater, especially if you’re the one being cheated on, but a new study suggests you can tell someone has done the dirty just by the sound of his or her voice.
The study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, found a person’s voice could be used as a tool for detecting if they’ve been unfaithful, no matter what story they’ve concocted to cover their tracks.
Researchers gathered 64 male and 88 female undergraduate students and asked them to listen to 10 male voices and 10 female voices. Five of the 10 voices from each group belonged to people who had cheated on a partner in their past or current relationship.
The study explained the vocal samples came from individuals who had “similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating).”
All the voices belonged to people who were heterosexual, white and unmarried but in monogamous relationships, in order to keep the test subjects as similar as possible.
The students then listened to each group with no background information or prior knowledge of the participants, and had to rate whether they believed they had cheated before.
Despite only hearing brief snippets the participants were able to judge those who had cheated, with women surprisingly much better at guessing than men.
"These findings expand upon the idea that the human voice may be of value as a cheater detection tool and very thin slices of vocal information are all that is needed to make certain assessments about others,” the authors of the study concluded.
"We were unable to identify exactly which acoustic qualities were driving the perception of cheating ascriptions, albeit a detailed acoustical analysis beyond the aims and scope of this perceptual study… It is interesting, then, to speculate what aspects of the human voice raters were using to make these accurate assessments, because we eliminated differences between groups for the more conspicuous cues of a voice that could be driving factors (i.e., variations in vocal attractiveness, voice pitch, and other basic acoustic features).
Although they have no definitive reasons why, researchers hypothesised it could be a person’s pitch that gives them away, with another study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology finding women consider men with deeper voices more likely to cheat.
So next time you’re on the pull just be careful how deep your pitch is – you might be giving away your entire sexual history without even knowing.