That’s why we’re constantly tweaking and updating the computerized voices of our IVR systems to sound more natural and “real” (because if a voice sounds too “fake,” you’re not going to enjoy talking to it).
What scientists are finding out, though, is that there may be more factors to consider than just how human our IVR sounds.
For one, researchers at Duke University have found that vocal pitch can greatly affect how we perceive political candidates.
According to Wired Magazine, the study showed that candidates with lower-pitched voices, both male and female, earned roughly 20% more votes than candidates with higher-pitched voices.
What’s more, participants found the lower-pitched voices, especially the female ones, to sound more competent, strong and trustworthy.
So what does the effect of a political candidate’s vocal pitch on poll results have to do with IVR?
Well, for a start, I’m willing to bet that we don’t just tend to trust deep-voiced politicians, but anyone with a deep voice.
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.
Political scientist Casey Klofstad of the University of Miami and leader of the Duke study said:
“Pitch seems to have an effect, but it’s only one component…What are the other components of human speech that matter? We want to know that and take it into the real world.”
As scientists and researchers continue to dig into our biological reactions to certain vocal characteristics, we’ll be able to systematically refine and rethink our digital voices until we’ve created the perfect synthetic voice.