Robust gender differences exist in the acoustic correlates of clearly articulated speech, with females, on average, producing speech that is acoustically and phonetically more distinct than that of males. This study investigates the relationship between several acoustic correlates of clear speech and subjective ratings of vocal attractiveness. Talkers were recorded producing vowels in /bVd/ context and sentences containing the four corner vowels. Multiple measures of working vowel space were computed from continuously sampled formant trajectories and were combined with measures of speech timing known to co-vary with clear articulation. Partial least squares regression (PLS-R) modeling was used to predict ratings of vocal attractiveness for male and female talkers based on the acoustic measures. PLS components that loaded on size and shape measures of working vowel space—including the quadrilateral vowel space area, convex hull area, and bivariate spread of formants—along with measures of speech timing were highly successful at predicting attractiveness in female talkers producing /bVd/ words. These findings are consistent with a number of hypotheses regarding human attractiveness judgments, including the role of sexual dimorphism in mate selection, the significance of traits signalling underlying health, and perceptual fluency accounts of preferences.
Examining vocal attractiveness through articulatory working space
Daniel A. Stehr, Gregory Hickok, Sarah Hargus Ferguson, Emily D. Grossman; Examining vocal attractiveness through articulatory working space. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 August 2021; 150 (2): 1548–1564. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0005730
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