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Speak with deep, dynamic voice to scare others into submission


A team of vocal experts have suggested that a deep voice is the key to power, revealing that a deep, dynamic voice that varies widely in pitch scares others into submission.

The study also showed that vocal tones that are higher on average with a narrower pitch range are likely to mark people out as sincere and trustworthy, the Mirror reported.

Rosario Signorello, from the University of California at Los Angeles, said that he collected speeches of the right wing Italian politician Umberto Bossi, former leader of the Northern League Party, before and after he suffered a severe stroke that permanently altered his speech in 2004.

Signorello added that he discovered that before the accident, he was perceived as an authoritarian leader, because his voice was characterised by low average of fundamental frequency, normal modulation of the pitch contour, a wide pitch range, a lot of perturbation in voice and a lot of creakiness and harshness.

Signorello concluded that the stroke caused him to have a very flat pitch contour, so even if he had the harshness, even if he had the creakiness, his pitch contour was very flat.

Signorello's team conducted further research using a technique called "delexicalisation," which strips out words from a speech while retaining the speaker's acoustic properties, and found that one of the most important charismatic influences was fundamental frequency or "F0," the lowest average rate of vocal cord vibration.

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First Published: Thu, October 30 2014. 13:19 IST