If you ask a woman what she finds attractive in a man, answers are likely to include his smile, eyes and a good sense of humor. But according to a new study, women are attracted to men with low-pitched voices, even though they rate them as more likely to be unfaithful.
The study findings were published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Previous research published in PLOS One suggested that men with low-pitched voices are perceived as more masculine and attractive.
But researchers from McMaster University in Canada wanted to determine women's preferences for male voice pitch in long-term versus short-term relationships, alongside their perceptions of infidelity risk.
The research team asked 87 women to listen to a variety of men's voices, which were manipulated electronically to sound high- or low-pitched.
The women were required to choose the voices of men who they thought were more likely to cheat on their romantic partners, and those who appeared more attractive to them for a long-term or short-term relationship.
Low-pitched men 'attractive for short-term relationships'
Findings of the analysis showed that the women demonstrated a preference for low-pitched voices.
However, they also rated these voices as more likely to cheat on their partner, and showed preference for them regarding short-term relationships rather than long-term.
Jillian O'Connor, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior at McMaster University and lead study author, explains:
"The sound of someone's voice can affect how we think of them. Until now, it's been unclear why women would like the voices of men who might cheat.
But we found that the more women thought these men would cheat, the more they were attracted to them for a brief relationship when they are less worried about fidelity."
Women have 'evolved' to avoid cheating partners
David Feinburg, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behavior at McMaster University, notes that evolution of women's perceptions may play a part in these findings.
"From an evolutionary perspective, these perceptions of future sexual infidelity may be adaptive," he explains.
"The consequences of infidelity are very high whether it is emotional or financial, and this research suggests that humans have evolved as a protection mechanism to avoid long-term partners who may cheat."
Medical News Today recently reported on a study suggesting that men are more likely to cheat because they have stronger sexual impulses, compared with women.