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Human vocal behavior within competitive and courtship contexts and its relation to mating success

Abstract : Beyond the linguistic content of their speech, speakers of both sexes convey diverse biological and psychosocial information through their voices, which are important when assessing potential mates and competitors. However, studies investigating the relationships between mating success and acoustic inter-individual differences are scarce. In this study, we investigated such relationships in both sexes in courtship and competitive interactions-as they correspond to the two different types of sexual selection-using an experimental design based on a simulated dating game. We assessed which type of sexual selection best predicted mating success, here defined as the self-reported number of sexual partners within the past year. Our results show that only acoustic inter-individual differences in the courtship context for both men and women predicted their mating success. Men displaying faster articulation rate and louder voices reported significantly more sexual partners; in contrast, men displaying higher intonation reported a greater negative effect of roughness and breathiness on their mating success. Women who displayed relatively less breathy voices and shorter speech duration reported significantly fewer sexual partners. These novel findings are discussed in light of the mate choice context and the relative contribution of both types of sexual selection shaping acoustic features of speech.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 4:33:15 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 12:31:33 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 12:55:05 PM

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Alexandre Suire, Michel Raymond, Melissa Barkat-Defradas. Human vocal behavior within competitive and courtship contexts and its relation to mating success. Evolution and Human Behavior, Elsevier, 2018, 39 (6), pp.684-691. ⟨10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.07.001⟩. ⟨hal-02352946⟩

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