Friday, June 8, 2018

Do men with more masculine voices have better immunocompetence?

Do men with more masculine voices have better immunocompetence? Steven Arnocky et al. Evolution and Human Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2018.06.003

Abstract: The human voice is often considered to be a secondary sexual characteristic that signals underlying information about the immunocompetence of the speaker (i.e. the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis; ICHH). However, no studies have yet shown a relationship between vocal characteristics and biomarkers of immune function or self-reported health. In a sample of 108 men, we examined correlations between masculine vocal characteristics [i.e. relatively low fundamental frequency (F0), low F0 variability (F0-SD), low formant position (Pf), and high vocal tract length (VTL)] in relation to salivary immunoglobulin-A (sIgA; a marker of mucosal immunity), testosterone (T), and well-validated measures of self-reported health status. Results showed that sIgA correlated with masculinized F0, Pf, and VTL. Self-report health correlated with masculinized Pf and VTL. Anticipated future health correlated negatively with F0-SD and sick role propensity (less interference of illness in daily life) correlated positively with VTL. Perceived susceptibility to infection correlated with more feminized F0 and F0-SD. Our results demonstrated a small but consistent relationship between men's vocal characteristics and one putative indicator of mucosal immunity along with self-identified health status. We suggest that more research is warranted to determine whether the masculinity of men's voices may serve as an indicator of their phenotypic quality.