It's In His Voice . . .If He's Cheating

Want to know if your spouse is cheating?  Forget the lipstick on the collar or the cologne in her hair.  Now researchers say it's all in the voice.

According to, our voices give us away every time, and the Web site cites new research by   Albright College associate professor of psychology Susan Hughes, Ph.D., who has found that "men and women alter their voices when speaking to lovers versus friends and that such variations can potentially be used to detect infidelity."

“It’s not just that we change the sound of our voice, but that others can easily perceive those changes,” quotes Hughes, an expert in evolutionary psychology and voice perception, who wrote about this in a new article, “People Will Know We Are in Love: Evidence of Differences Between Vocal Samples Directed Toward Lovers and Friends.”

The study looked at how individuals alter their voices, or engage in voice modulation, when speaking to romantic partners versus same-sex friends during brief telephone conversations. And we do this without even knowing we're doing it.  Researchers recruited 24 callers, reports, who were newly in love and still in the so-called honeymoon period. Callers were asked to phone their romantic partners, as well as a close same-sex friend, and in both cases engage in a conversation asking specifically “how are you?” and “what are you doing?”

Researchers then played the recordings to 80 independent raters, who judged the samples for sexiness, pleasantness and degree of romantic interest. "Raters were exposed to only one end of the conversation and, in some cases, for only 2 seconds. Still, raters were able to correctly identify, with greater than chance accuracy, whether the caller was speaking to a friend or lover, leading researchers to believe that people will alter their voice to communicate their relationship status," notes.

Not surprisingly, “vocal samples directed toward romantic partners were rated as sounding more pleasant, sexier and reflecting greater romantic interest than those directed toward same-sex friends,” according to the article.

Even more interesting, the study found that both men and women tend to mimic or match the pitch of their romantic partners. "Women will use a lower pitch, while men will employ a higher one when speaking to their romantic partner. According to the article, this effect 'represents desire for affiliation and intimacy' and is a “way to communicate affection and relational connection – ‘I am one with you,'" the Web site says.

Now, my husband and I spend a lot of time away from each other, he in New York where he works, six days a week, and me at home with our son, or out at meetings and conferences or doing interviews (as you probably have guessed, I'm a writer).  Over time, as in any marriage, our voices toward one another can be strained, or angry, or sulking.  But I have to say (thankfully) that the only voice I hear him using on the phone is that of a dentist talking to an (often unhappy) patient. But then, I mean, how smart would a spouse be talking to a lover from home?

In the same samples, "raters could sense stress, nervousness and lack of confidence in the voices of callers speaking to their lovers, which could be attributed to the early stages of romantic love," comments. “There was vulnerability associated with the voices of those newly in love. Perhaps people don’t want to be rejected,” Hughes told


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