The research, titled “Your Cheatin’ Voice Will Tell on You: Detection of Past Infidelity From Voice,” revealed that a person’s voice can indirectly communicate a lot things—and one of that is infidelity.
For the study, psychologists Susan Hughes and Marissa Harrison recorded the voices of 64 men and 88 women (45 percent were currently in a relationship, while 55 percent were not) while they were counting from 1 to 10. “Half of the speakers for each sex reported that they had sexual intercourse with a person outside of a previous or current, exclusive, and committed relationship at some point in their lives (i.e., were ‘cheaters’), and the other half reported never cheating on their partners,” the study stated.
The researchers also created two versions of each voice recording: a higher-pitch version and a lower-pitch version. This way, they could know whether pitch affects how these voices were perceived.
Next, a new set of people listened to the voice recordings and rated the likelihood that each speaker had cheated by using a 10-point scale—1 if they were not at all likely to have cheated and 10 if they were.
Surprisingly, the listeners were able to identify cheaters and non-cheaters—based on the recordings alone.
“We found that participants indeed rated the voices of those who had a history of cheating as more likely to cheat,” the researchers reported. And even when the speakers’ pitch was manipulated, it didn’t affect the results—the listeners still correctly identified who cheated and who didn’t.
How is that possible? Hughes and Harrison said that those with a cheating history tend to speak with less clarity. The cheaters also speak with fewer pauses and vary their voice pitch more frequently.
“Vocal cues such as clarity of articulation may have contributed to perceptions of infidelity,” the experts added.
Similarly, previous studies also suggested that voice is indeed a factor when it comes to determining whether one has—or has the tendency to—cheat or not. A 2011 research also published in Evolutionary Psychology has concluded that “When choosing a partner, women believe the lower the man's voice, the more likely he's going to cheat. Conversely, men think a woman with a higher voice is more likely to be unfaithful."
You have your hormones to blame for this—it turns out that the lower the voice, the higher the testosterone for men, and higher the voice, the higher the estrogen for women. And having high levels of these hormones, according to the study, are associated with adulterous behavior.