A rare juxtaposition of the professional and personal

Male Voice Good Indicator of Physical Strength: Scientific American Podcast.

The above link came up on my rss aggregator today, and I was really kind of surprised by the result.  On some level, it makes a lot of sense that we have evolved the ability to estimate a male’s strength by listening to his voice, but I’ve seen too many cases of bull-voiced average guys to be entirely convinced.  Case in point (and here comes the juxtaposition), take a look at this video produced by the makers of the upcoming video game Guild Wars 2.  The guy who voices the human knight looks like he weighs about a hundred pounds soaking wet, but he sure sounds like he ought to be of a stature appropriate for wearing armor and wielding heavy weapons.

On the one hand, the fact that I recognize the disconnect suggests that the above research is accurate – how would I know what the owner of that voice “ought” to look like unless we really do associate voice with build?  On the other hand, I think it’s also worth questioning the usefulness of such an ability if it is so easily (and so often) misled.  Perhaps the modern absence of a past evolutionary pressure has made this ability less accurate and less useful.  Who knows, maybe the “bull-voiced weakling” archetype used to be high on the list for competitive elimination – having initially scared the pants off the competition, he is then swiftly trompled when the other guy realizes he’s been had and needs to save face.

Very interesting!


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