Regional Dialect Is The Strongest Predictor of Voice Preference

The sound of our voice determines our feelings toward them.

Recent studies show voices similar to our own provide a sense of community and social belongingness — thus, we often prefer voices of those who speak similarly to us. Researchers at the University of British Columbia say preference is often given to those with our own regional dialects.

Because the voice is a tool greatly use to construct our identity, we are drawn to those similar to ours.

Why? Basically, this similarity leads to the assumption that we have a lot in common.

Researchers asked university students in California to rate the attractiveness of male and female voices of people living west of the Mississippi River. Participants preferred different acoustic signals for men and women, but overall the strongest predictor for voice preference is one’s own region and community.

Aside from regional differences, key preferences common of North Americans include men who speak with shorter average word length and male voices suggesting a larger build. For women, breathy voices are preferred, which indicates the person has younger and thinner vocal cords. Researchers also suggest this comes from our cultural obsession with youthfulness and health. (Some actually say that the opposite — a low and creaky female voice — alludes to sickness or frequent smoking.)

With that said, foreign and exotic voices are also very appealing.

Since there’s no familiarity, these voices become attractive. In fact, there are certain foreign accents that are favored over others based on social stereotypes we’ve created.

If you’re looking for voice actors from your area or abroad, be sure to browse VoiceBunny’s vast options of voice actors experienced in various regional dialects. Once you find the right one, make sure you also give them proper instruction to maximize their effectiveness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Voices similar to our own — especially in regional dialect — provide comfort through a sense of community and social belongingness.
  • North Americans as a whole prefer men speaking with shorter average word length and the sound of a larger build. They prefer light and breathy voices from women.
  • Foreign and exotic voices are found appealing by Americans.