Female Voices Impede Verbal Processing: A Closer Look at the Role of Pitch and Formants
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Previous research indicates that female voices are processed differently than male voices. For example, lists of words are remembered less well when spoken in a female voice, increased brain activity is visible in the auditory cortex for female voices in male listeners, and reaction times in lexical decision tasks seem to indicate longer reaction times for processing female voices. The current study investigated whether female voices are processed slower than male voices through a lexical decision task with auditory prime and specifically examined the role of pitch and formants in the supposed gender voice effect. Opposing previous findings, the current study does not find that word meaning access speed is slower in female voices compared to male voices as measured by the semantic priming effect. Additionally, female pitch or formants are not significant predictors for the semantic priming effect size, indicating that female pitch and formants have no role in words meaning access speed as measured by the semantic priming effect.