Nowicki Publishes Cover Story in American Scientist
In this election season, Steve Nowicki and two former lab members have published an article on how the vocal pitch of candidates my influence voters' choice. "How voice pitch influences our choice of leaders" is the cover story in the September-October 2016 issue of American Scientist (vol. 104:5). The article discusses subjects' preferences when confronted with a choice of a higher or lower voice in various contexts: when both candidates are male, when one is male and one female, when the office at stake is typically associated with women or is not specified at all and when the subject is male or female. They found in most circumstances the subjects preferred the candidate with the deeper voice. But when the researchers compared their controlled results with those of actual elections to the House of Representatives in 2012, they found that having a deeper voice could actually work against a male candidate running against a female. As they acknowledge in their summation, "In real elections, all other things are never really equal." Nevertheless, voters are well-advised to be aware of their unconscious biases when they step into the booth.