High male voices give everyone the heebs.

As we all know, women prefer men with deeper voices. A man with a deep voice is perceived as large, dominant, and masculine, and all the ladies just love that sort of thing. A gap in current scientific research has been that none of the studies that identified booming baritones as being wildly attractive to women have taken into account the effects of birth control pills. Since some studies have suggested that ovulating women go especially keraaaazy for low-voiced gentlemen, might perhaps a pill that affects hormone levels also affect their voice preferences? And maybe there’s a pill that would make them all hot for nerds in lab coats, too? Anyhow, worth a shot.

Or maybe not! Reasearchers Jason Whitaker, Ryan Setten, and Ulv Ankerstjerne (of the Universities of  California, San Diego, and Copenhagen, respectively) have just presented a poster-type thingy at the 80th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. In their nifty poster, Messrs. Whitaker, Setten, and Ankerstjerne show the results of their study, which took a group of 145 women–85 off birth control pills and 60 on–and subjected them to recordings of two men (modulated three different ways each) pronouncing some monophthong vowels. Ooooooooo, monophthong vowels. (Swoons.)

In what is surely a blow to squeaky scientists everywhere, the women in the study tended to prefer the naturally lower-pitched male voice, and this preference did not seem to be dependent on their time of the month or on their contraceptive status. However, they did not prefer the lowest-pitched variants of either of the two male voices, instead finding the middle variant of Voice A to be a cool slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day.

So what have we learned? Well, Whitaker, Setten, and Ankerwhatever feel that the small sample size, and perhaps the innate sexiness of that tasty Voice A, may have futzed their results a little. They are most confident about one thing: their study found absolutely no evidence that using birth control pills changes how you might feel about that chirpy-sounding dude down the hall. You still think he sounds like a loser.