Revisiting cycle-dependent changes in women's voices

Klatt, Wilhelm; Lobmaier, Janek (22 September 2017). Revisiting cycle-dependent changes in women's voices (Unpublished). In: 4th Annual Conference of the Polish Society for Human and Evolution Studies. Krakow, Poland. 20.09.-22.09.2017.

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Objective: An increasing number of studies suggest that women's voices are affected by menstrual cycle. For example, voice pitch has been found to vary across the cycle. However, voice pitch variation during speaking can also occur spontaneously for a number of reasons. In the present study we investigated whether changes in women’s voices as they occur across the menstrual cycle (between-sessions) are larger than naturally occurring variation within a single session.
Methods: The voice of 42 naturally cycling female speakers was recorded once around ovulation and once in the luteal phase. We recorded sentences that suggested a mating context and neutral sentences. Each sentence was recorded twice in each session, the order of sentences within and between sessions was randomized. Voice recordings were analysed acoustically using Praat software.
Results: Differences in 17 acoustic parameters between sessions (menstrual cycle phases) and within sessions between repetitions of each sentence were calculated. The variation across menstrual cycle phases (between-sessions) was larger compared to the variation within sessions. However, the variation across sessions was not related to menstrual cycle phase: There was no systematic change between ovulatory and luteal phase sessions. Interestingly, even within sessions, acoustic measurements showed highly significant differences between two identical sentences (fundamental frequency, mean loudness).
Conclusions: The robustness of cycle-dependent voice changes should be questioned. Using acoustic analyses, we found no indication that women’s voices convey cues of fertility.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Klatt, Wilhelm and Lobmaier, Janek


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology


[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds




Wilhelm Klatt

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2018 14:01

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2020 15:03




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