Infidelity: voices reveal this

If you suspect infidelity, it is wise to listen carefully to the voice of your partner. The voice reveals whether you are talking to a loved one or a good friend. New research by Professor Hughes from Albright College in Reading (USA) has shown this. Intonation and modulation of the voice betray love. People’s voice indicates whether he or she is unfaithful. New research by Susan Hughes, Ph.D., professor of psychology from Albright College in Reading, PA (USA) has shown that men and women change their voices when speaking to loved ones or friends. These variations could be used to detect infidelity.


It’s not that we change the sound of our voice, but the fact that others can easily perceive these changes, according to Hughes, an expert in evolutionary psychology and voice perception. The findings are included in a new paper: People Know When We’re in Love: Evidence of Differences Between Vocal Samples Targeting Lovers and Friends, published this month in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. The co-authors are Jack LaFayette, director of institutional research at Albright, and Sally D. Farley, previously an assistant professor of psychology at Albright, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore. The study examined how individuals changed or began to modulate their voices when speaking to romantic partners versus same-sex friends during short phone conversations. Researchers recruited 24 callers who had just fallen in love and were still in the so-called honeymoon period. The callers were asked to call their loved ones, as well as close friends of the same sex, and in both cases to start a conversation specifically asking how are you and what are you doing?

Identify loved one or friend

The researchers played the recordings to 80 independent people who rated the recordings on voluptuousness, pleasure and their level of romantic interest. The raters were exposed to only part of the conversation and in some cases for only 2 seconds. Still, the raters were able to identify with fairly high accuracy whether the caller was speaking to a friend or a loved one, leading the researchers to believe that people change their voices to communicate their relationship status. The recordings of voices speaking to romantic partners were rated as more pleasant, sexier and showed greater romantic interest than the voices speaking to friends of the same sex, according to the article.


The researchers also conducted a spectrogram analysis to assess the sound and found that both men and women tended to imitate the sound of their romantic partners. Women use a lower sound while men use a higher sound when speaking to their romantic partner. According to the article, this effect represents the desire for intimacy and connection and is the way to communicate affection and relational closeness.


However, the researchers were surprised by the results of the analysis on the manner of speaking. The recordings were stripped of their content, while elements such as intonation and modulation remained. In these examples, raters could detect stress, nervousness, and lack of confidence in the voices of callers speaking to their loved ones, which could be attributed to the early stages of romantic love. Vulnerability was even attributed to the voices of the newly in love. Maybe people don’t want to be rejected, Hughes said.