Vail Dear Darwin column: Women detect infidelity through voice pitch |

Vail Dear Darwin column: Women detect infidelity through voice pitch

Robert Valko
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyRobert Valko

A new study suggests that women believe that males with low voices are more likely to cheat in a relationship.

Conversely, men are often terrified of women with high voices, particularly at times of geographical distress. At such times, when the two are in the car together, men quiver with fear, thinking that their partners will stop at the local Gas-O-Mat and ask for directions.

As everyone knows, the grand Poo-Bah at the Hair Club for Men has ruled that asking for directions may be grounds for divorce – if not an all out confiscation of bon-bons. Of course, there’s always a chance that a woman just wanted to get some milk and eggs, but that’s often just a cover up for her addiction to directions.

And when it comes to women with low voices, men often think they’re less likely to stop at gas stations. As any sound-minded male will tell you, this is the ‘right’ behavior and is often cause for throwing a celebratory square dance, complete with some do-si-do dancing and a wicked beef brisket.

Before we move onto the topic at hand, let us rejoice in the Dear Darwin treatise on why men suffer from gas-station-phobia – on why it takes so many sperm to fertilize an egg: because none will stop and ask for directions. Oh, and speaking of eggs, gentlemen, let us not forget the fallen soldiers who have squiggled their way to a tragic demise as they risked life and twitching tail in the quest for the hallowed egg, which, as it turns out, was available at the local 7-Eleven all along.

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Onward. The voice study was conducted by presenting women and men only with vowel sounds spoken by men or women, both high and low pitched. This allowed the author of that study, psychologist Jill O’Conner of McMaster University in Canada, to control for any smooth talkers or persuasive speech content. Women rated the low-pitched vowel sounds as being more likely to belong to guys with cheating hearts. Men, on the other hand, believed that women with higher, more feminine voices, were more likely to cheat. The effect was smaller for the men though.

O’Conner suspects that high levels of testosterone are fueling the deep-voice, cheating, and suspicion of cheating tri-fecta. This is so because high-octane men typically have more sexual relations and are more likely to cheat on their spouses than guys that run on ethanol – low T.

But, if women interpret the low grunts emitted by Hair Club members and other males as indicators that they might cheat, what do men think about the heavy breathing and peeps heard from women when a couple is in the throws of hot and steamy cookie baking?

One highly scientific theory suggests that passionate cries during kitchen aerobics exist to motivate men to bake even faster, so that a woman reaches her dough-rolling apex. When she climaxes, there’s a greater chance that a bun or cookie will be in the oven. Really.

Ever the clueless K-9s though, men often don’t get the message. Instead, they just tilt their heads like perplexed cocker spaniels and think: “Me Kongwala, lord of pleasure.”

Eagle country resident Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. Email him with column topics at

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