Speed Reads


Study finds that powerful people develop loud voices

A new study from the Association for Psychological Science found that moving up the power ranks in your career can have an effect on your voice.

"Our findings suggest that whether it's parents attempting to assert authority over unruly children, haggling between a car salesman and customer, or negotiations between heads of states, the sound of the voices involved may profoundly determine the outcome of those interactions," lead researcher Sei Jin Ko of San Diego State University said in a statement.

The researchers recorded 161 college students reading aloud with specific negotiation rules in mind. The voices of those who were assigned a "high" rank in the negotiation exercise became more monotone, louder, and went up in pitch. The researchers concluded that power, even imagined power, affected the students' voices.

Not only do people change their voices to command attention, but the change in tone also affects how others respond. A second experiment found that listeners unaware of the first experiment were able to determine the vocal cues about which speakers were powerful.

"These findings suggest that listeners are quite perceptive to these subtle variations in vocal cues, and they use these cues to decide who is in charge," researcher Adam Galinsky said in a statement.