Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Carmen Fought

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© 2022 Grace A Corrigan


How does the pitch of a woman’s voice impact how she is perceived, and how might women change the pitch of their voices to fit the situation at hand? Study 1 examined whether pitch plays a role in impression formation. Participants listened to two women’s voices at three pitch levels (raised, unchanged, lowered) and rated the speakers’ personality traits. Ratings of speaker competence, confidence, and intelligence were significantly lower for the pitch-raised voices than for the unchanged or pitch-lowered voices. Additionally, ratings of speaker persuasiveness and attractiveness were significantly lower for the pitch-raised voices than for the unchanged voices. No effect of pitch on sociability ratings was observed, but ratings of femininity were significantly lower for the pitch-lowered voices than for the unchanged or pitch-raised voices. Study 2 investigated whether women would modulate their pitch in different conversational contexts. Female participants were recorded answering questions in neutral, flirtatious, and professional conversational contexts over Zoom. No effects of context were observed for participants’ minimum, maximum, and median pitch, but participants’ mean pitch was significantly lower in the professional context than in the neutral context. The results of these studies suggested that pitch may be a factor in the formation of impressions about female speakers, and that women may, whether or not they are aware of the role of pitch in impression formation, modulate their voices to appear more professional.

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