August 8, 2005
There may be a scientific reason why men “tune out” women. A recent study that examined how the human brain reacts to male and female voices uncovered a surprising finding – female voices are more complex and require more brain activity.
The study, published in the medical journal NeuroImage (www.academicpress.com/ni), concludes that the brain processes women’s and men’s voices differently, and therefore we hear women’s voices more clearly.
“It is the female’s increased use of prosody, or the natural melody of speech, that makes their voices more complex,” said one of the study’s authors, referring to the vibration and number of sound waves.
This increased demand is why men may tend to stop listening to women’s voices, the study theorizes.
Here’s the shortened scientific stuff:
• Female voices stimulate the brain’s auditory section, so we tend to hear them more clearly. Men’s voices stimulate the brain’s area that’s responsible for comparing individuals and things to themselves.
• People who hear “false voices” usually hear men’s voices because men’s voices, being less complex, are easier to create.
Makes me curious about the number of female voiceovers versus male voiceovers and if there are any corresponding numbers on effectiveness…