October 03, 2012
IVR Research Reveals We're More Likely to Trust Low-Pitched Politicians
By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor
Creating the perfect synthetic voice: isn’t that the reason we’re constantly twisting and tweaking the computerized voices that come with IVR systems? We want them to sound more natural and “real,” as this recent Plum Voice blog puts it. What may surprise you, though, is that in this confusing quest toward achieving this ideal synthetic speech, scientists are already one step ahead of the game, having found some critical factors to consider. Here’s a hint – it has more to do than just how so-called “human” our IVR sounds.
Researchers at Duke University have discovered that vocal pitch, for one, can greatly affect how humans perceive political candidates – or any person, for that matter. This can play a huge role in automated polls, or “Robocalls.” Further, according to a study reported by Wired Magazine, candidates with lower-pitched voices – whether male or female – received about 20 percent more favorability and votes than their higher-pitched counterparts.
This seems to suggest that we’re quicker to trust and/or rely on individuals with a lower-pitched voice. If it’s a female voice, it is considered even more competent, strong and trustworthy.
“Logically if we want our IVR to in-turn sound trustworthy and comforting, we’re better off giving it some depth. And if this study tells us anything of what’s to come, we’re only skimming the surface on the huge number of vocal traits affecting how we view people,” Plum explains in its blog.
Leader of the Duke Study as well as political scientist at the University of Miami, Casey Klofstad, says that pitch is not the solely contributing factor to this unique perception. “Pitch seems to have an effect, but it’s only one component,” he insists.
So what are the other contributing factors that come into play? We’re unfortunately not quite there yet, but given the rapid speed of technology, we’re sure to be there soon!
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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