Send to

Choose Destination
Evol Psychol. 2018 Apr-Jun;16(2):1474704918758736. doi: 10.1177/1474704918758736.

Presidential, But Not Prime Minister, Candidates With Lower Pitched Voices Stand a Better Chance of Winning the Election in Conservative Countries.

Author information

1 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
2 Department of Political Science, Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus Universitet, Aarhus, Denmark.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia.
4 Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.


Previous studies have shown that voters rely on sexually dimorphic traits that signal masculinity and dominance when they choose political leaders. For example, voters exert strong preferences for candidates with lower pitched voices because these candidates are perceived as stronger and more competent. Moreover, experimental studies demonstrate that conservative voters, more than liberals, prefer political candidates with traits that signal dominance, probably because conservatives are more likely to perceive the world as a threatening place and to be more attentive to dangerous and threatening contexts. In light of these findings, this study investigates whether country-level ideology influences the relationship between candidate voice pitch and electoral outcomes of real elections. Specifically, we collected voice pitch data for presidential and prime minister candidates, aggregate national ideology for the countries in which the candidates were nominated, and measures of electoral outcomes for 69 elections held across the world. In line with previous studies, we found that candidates with lower pitched voices received more votes and had greater likelihood of winning the elections. Furthermore, regression analysis revealed an interaction between candidate voice pitch, national ideology, and election type (presidential or parliamentary). That is, having a lower pitched voice was a particularly valuable asset for presidential candidates in conservative and right-leaning countries (in comparison to presidential candidates in liberal and left-leaning countries and parliamentary elections). We discuss the practical implications of these findings, and how they relate to existing research on candidates' voices, voting preferences, and democratic elections in general.


evolutionary political psychology; ideology; parliamentary elections; presidential elections; voice pitch; voting

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center