The Unique Impact of Menstruation on the Female Voice: Implications for the Evolution of Menstrual Cycle Cues


R. Nathan Pipitone, Department of Psychology, Adams State College, Suite #3090, 208 Edgemont Boulevard, Alamosa, CO 81101, USA. E-mail:


Research shows that hormonal changes in women across the menstrual cycle affect vocal production. Most work has documented shifts at high fertility times (i.e., ovulation) or during premenstruation. However, hormonal changes at menstruation also affect female physiology and behavior and could affect vocal production. The present studies investigated perceptual differences in voices recorded during menstruation compared with recordings taken at other times of the menstrual cycle. Results show that male raters could reliably identify voices recorded during menstruation with or without the presence of a voice recorded closest to ovulation. In addition, voices recorded at menstruation were identified as being the most unattractive. These findings indicate that voice recordings taken at times of lowest fertility may uniquely impact women’s vocal production and that perceptions of voice based on cycle phase are not specific to the time of heightened fertility. Implications for the evolution of human menstrual cycle cues are discussed.