The Loh Down On Science

Flirting

So, you think you can flirt?  

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:

Meet psychologists at Scotland’s Stirling University.  Not to date, but for research.  Their pro tip?  It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

They recently studied what are called “paralinguals.”  Those are voice elements beyond just words.  Things like pitch and volume.  These convey meaning too.

The researchers wondered:  Do paralinguals affect flirting?

To find out, they videotaped one-hundred-and-ten heterosexual volunteers.  They told each that opposite-sex listeners would judge their dating potential from the videos.  So, they said, tell the camera why you’re a hot date!  Get your flirt on!

Then, using special software, the team analyzed each video for paralinguals.  

Turned out men, when flirting, slightly lowered their pitch unconsciously.  They also spoke in a slightly sing-song tone.  Female volunteers who later rated the male videos found the sing-song-y-est ones most attractive!

The researchers say the mens’ paralinguals convey:  “I’m manly, but still sweet!”  As for the women's paralinguals?  The results were more nuanced.

Not that the men were particularly listening....

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


blog comments powered by Disqus