Research has shown that babies prefer to hear female voices. In particular, they prefer the pitch of their mothers’ voices. This is one reason why mothers raise their voices when talking to their babies. In addition, babies respond better to female voices than male voices. Read on to learn more about the different types of voice gender cues and how your baby responds to them.
Children’s ability to discriminate differences in voice gender cues develops similarly for F0 and VTL cues
Children may have representations of voice gender that are different than those of adults. However, their ability to discriminate differences in voice gender cusps may develop similarly for F0 and VTL cue. These differences are thought to be due to differences in formant frequency. In addition, differences in resonator size and width may also contribute to voice gender differences.
The ability of children to discriminate differences in voice gender cue is a complex process. This study investigated how children differentiate between male and female voices using F0 and VTL cues. Children were given a visual-auditory match-to-sample task consisting of five trials and 36 trials. Each trial contained one stimulus word with the voice characteristics more typical of a female. In the other trial, the voice characteristics were ambiguous, but not necessarily more so.
Discrimination between F0 and VTL cues is largely developed in infants and young children. However, the development of the ability to discriminate F0 and VTL cues is still poorly understood. This may be due to the perceptual limitations of children.
There are some differences in the acoustics of male and female voices. Female voices have a higher frequency and lower pitch than male voices. The resonant frequencies of male and female voices vary by octave and pitch. Listeners are able to distinguish between female voices and male voices based on the sound of their voices.
In a study by Coleman and colleagues, the resonant frequencies of male and female voices were compared using electrolarynx recordings. The female voice’s F1 and F2 frequencies were higher than those of the male voice, but the results were highly variable depending on language and vowel production. For example, no significant cross-gender difference was found when French speakers were compared to American English speakers. Vowel productions were analyzed using spectrographic analysis to determine their formant frequency values.
Voice resonance is a process by which a vocal tract produces tonal vibrations that affect the quality of speech. It also helps actors and singers project their voices and improve the quality of their voices for listeners. It is also important for medical practitioners as a nasalization may result in specific resonance and anti-resonance effects. Research in the resonant voice aims to understand the normal vocal production process and improve the vocal efficiency of talkers.
Infants develop discrimination of voice gender similar to adults, and their ability to discriminate F0 and VTL cues is similar to adults’. However, children’s discrimination of voice gender is still not fully understood. They may be limited in their discrimination because of their limited perceptual abilities.
One theory explains the difference in babies’ response to male and female voices. Human mothers raise their voice pitch when talking to their babies in order to arouse their interest. Other species also use high-pitched vocalizations to get attention. Macaque monkeys, for example, use high-pitched calls to attract attention. High-pitched voices are also easier for infants to detect against background noise, and they may perceive them as less aggressive.
One study examined the motivational effects of maternal voice in newborns. The researchers used a preference procedure in which infants suck on a pacifier when delivered with a maternal voice. The infants were also exposed to recordings of non-maternal voices. The experiment involved 36 infants in an experimental group and 24 control subjects.
Neonatal brain responses
Several recent studies have found that infant brain responses to male and female voices are similar. Newborns were habituated to a single male or female voice during prenatal development, and the pattern of EEG brain activity after the first exposure to the sounds remained the same. A similar pattern of neural activity was also observed in the brains of newborns who were exposed to multiple male and female voices during the first three months.
Researchers also found that a male’s voice evoked higher amplitudes than a female’s, indicating that the male voice activates different parts of the brain than a female’s. This finding could explain differences in brain activity between the sexes, and help researchers better understand the underlying mechanisms of male-female vocalization.
The study also found that infants’ brains encode consonants by coordinating along the place and manner dimensions. They then generalize this knowledge to other dimensions. However, this generalization is hampered by the fact that consonants are often combined into idiosyncratic bundles. This pattern is in keeping with the dynamic nature of neural codes.