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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Feb;35(2):198-211. doi: 10.1177/0146167208326477.

Stereotyping based on voice in the presence of individuating information: vocal femininity affects perceived competence but not warmth.

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  • 1Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanstron, IL 60208, USA.


In two experiments the authors examined the effect of vocal cues on warmth and competence judgments when other competing information was concurrently available. In Experiment 1, using male and female speakers posing as job applicants, the authors investigated how applicants' vocal cues and résumé information impacted judgments of competence and warmth. Results showed competence was solely affected by vocal femininity-applicants with masculine voices were rated as more competent than applicants with feminine voices, regardless of applicant gender or résumé information. Warmth was predominantly affected by résumés-applicants with feminine résumés were rated as warmer than applicants with masculine résumés. In Experiment 2, the potent effect of vocal femininity on competence was replicated even under conditions where the competing background information was directly diagnostic of warmth and competence. Furthermore, the authors found that the impact of vocal femininity on competence was largely due to the overlap between perceptions of vocal femininity and babyishness.

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