Studies of several mammalian species confirm that formant frequencies (vocal tract resonances) predict height and weight better than does fundamental frequency (F0, perceived as pitch) in same-sex adults due to differential anatomical constraints. However, our recent meta-analysis [Pisanski et al. (2014) Animal Behaviour, 95, 85-99] indicated that formants and F0 could explain no more than 10% and 2% of the variance in human height, respectively, controlling for sex and age. Here, we examined whether other voice parameters, many which are affected by sex hormones, can indicate additional variance in human body size or shape, and whether these relationships differ between the sexes. Using a cross-cultural sample of 700 men and women, we examined relationships among 19 voice parameters (min-max F0, mean F0, F0 variability, vocal tract length estimates, shimmer, jitter, harmonics-to-noise ratio) and 8 indices of body size or shape (height, weight, body-mass-index BMI, hip-, waist- and chest-circumferences, waist-to-hip ratio WHR, chest-to-hip ratio CHR). Our results show that formant measures explain the most variance in menís and womenís heights and weights, whereas shimmer, jitter, and HNR do not indicate height, weight, or BMI in either sex. In contrast, these perturbation and noise parameters, in addition to F0 range and variability, explained more variance in body shape than did formants or mean F0, particularly among men. Shimmer or jitter explained the most variance in menís hip circumferences (12%) and CHRs (6%) whereas HNR and formants explained the most variance in womenís WHRs (11%), and significantly more than in menís WHRs. Our study represents the most comprehensive analysis of vocal indicators of human body size to date and offers a foundation for future research examining the hormonal mechanisms of voice production in humans and perceptual playback experiments.
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