The sounds of dominance.

Vocal precursors of perceived dominance during interpersonal influence


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A study was conducted to determine the effects of vocal cues on judgements of dominance in an interpersonal influence context. Physical measures of human vocal cues and participant ratings of dominance were obtained from videotapes of actors delivering short influence messages. After controlling for linguistic and visual content of messages, results indicated that mean amplitude and amplitude standard deviation were positively associated with dominance judgments, whereas speech rate was negatively associated with dominance judgments. An unexpected interaction revealed that mean fundamental frequency (F0) was positively associated with dominance judgments for male speakers but not significantly associated with dominance judgments for female speakers. F0 standard deviation was not significantly associated with dominance judgments. Results support the conclusion that dominance judgments are inferred from multiple sources of information and that some vocal markers of dominance are more influential than others.