Opposites attract! Pitch divergence at turn breaks as cause and effect of perceived attractiveness

Jan Michalsky, Heike Schoormann


In a previous study on dating conversation it was found that speakers who perceived their interlocutor as more attractive showed a tendency to diverge from their interlocutor in terms of F0 mean immediately after taking the turn. One explanation brought forward was that speakers who were attracted to their interlocutor thereby tried to sound more attractive in return. It is widely acknowledged that there are features of a speaker’s voice that are perceived as more attractive. In this study we want to ask whether speakers who show divergence as an effect of being attracted are actually perceived as more attractive in return. We investigated 98 spontaneous mixed-sex dating conversations and found that the speakers who diverged their F0 to a larger extent were in return perceived as significantly more attractive. Since speakers were explicitly instructed to rate the visual attractiveness only, we conclude that the vocal behavior of speakers can affect how they are perceived by an interlocutor, even concerning their visual attractiveness.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-54

Cite as: Michalsky, J., Schoormann, H. (2018) Opposites attract! Pitch divergence at turn breaks as cause and effect of perceived attractiveness. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 265-268, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-54.


@inproceedings{Michalsky2018,
  author={Jan Michalsky and Heike Schoormann},
  title={Opposites attract! Pitch divergence at turn breaks as cause and effect of perceived attractiveness},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={265--268},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-54},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-54}
}