J Stern, C Schild, B Jones, L DeBruine, A Hahn, D Puts, I Zettler, T Kordsmeyer, D Feinberg, D Zamfir, L Penke and R Arslan

Do voices carry valid information about a speaker's personality?

Journal of Research in Personality

Research on links between peoples’ personality traits and their voices has primarily focused on other peoples’ personality judgments about a target person based on a target person’s vocal characteristics, particularly voice pitch. However, it remains unclear whether individual differences in voices are linked to actual individual differences in personality traits, and thus whether vocal characteristics are indeed valid cues to personality. Here, we investigate how the personality traits of the Five Factor Model of Personality, sociosexuality, and dominance are related to measured fundamental frequency (voice pitch) and formant frequencies (formant position). For this purpose, we conducted a secondary data analysis of a large sample (2,217 participants) from eleven different, independent datasets with a Bayesian approach. Results suggest substantial negative relationships between voice pitch and self-reported sociosexuality, dominance and extraversion in men and women. Thus, personality might at least partly be expressed in people’s voice pitch. Evidence for an association between formant frequencies and self-reported personality traits is not compelling but remains uncertain. We discuss potential underlying biological mechanisms of our effects and suggest a number of implications for future research.

Preprint available at https://psyarxiv.com/9a68c. Preregistration and open analysis code available at https://osf.io/x4jzq/.