Christoph Schild, Julia Stern, Lars Penke, and Ingo Zettler (2020)

Voice Pitch - A valid indicator of one’s unfaithfulness in committed relationships?

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology.


When judging a male speakerslikelihood to act sexually unfaithful in a committed relationship, listeners rely on the speakersvoice pitch such that lower voice pitch is perceived as indicating being more unfaithful. In line with this finding, a recent study (Schild et al., 2020) provided first evidence that voice pitch might indeed be a valid cue to sexual infidelity in men. In this study, male speakers with lower voice pitch, as indicated by lower mean fundamental frequency (mean F0), were actually more likely to report having been sexually unfaithful in the past. Although these results fit the literature on vocal perceptions in contexts of sexual selection, the study was, as stated by the authors, underpowered. Further, the study solely focused on male speakers, which leaves it open whether these findings are also transferable to female speakers.


We reanalyzed three datasets (Asendorpf et al., 2011; Penke and Asendorpf, 2008; Stern et al., 2020) that include voice recordings and infidelity data of overall 865 individuals (63,36% female) in order to test the replicability of and further extend past research.


A significant negative link between mean F0 and self-reported infidelity was found in only one out of two datasets for men and only one out of three datasets for women. Two meta-analyses (accounting for the sample sizes and including data of Schild et al., 2020), however, suggest that lower mean F0 might be a valid indicator of higher probability of self-reported infidelity in both men and women.


In line with prior research, higher masculinity, as indicated by lower mean F0,seems to be linked to self-reported infidelity in both men and women. However, given methodological shortcomings, future studies should set out to further delve into these findings.

open data, preregistration, open access article, replication, open analysis code