Friday, May 27, 2011
In an interesting study, gay men actually speak differently from straight men. I mean in someways we do, not many straight guys sound like Harvey Fierstein. But this study goes in detail about how we pronounce words and stuff.
A new study from Ohio State University psychologists reports that the average person can, more often than not, tell the difference between gay and straight male speakers. The secret, they report, is in the vowels. Seven gay men and seven straight men were asked to record monosyllabic words for the researchers. The recordings were then played back for subjects of the study, who responded with whether they thought the speaker was gay or straight after hearing the first letter sound of the word, the first two letter sounds, and the entire word.
It wasn’t until the first two-letter sounds, which generally included a vowel, that the subjects’ guessing accuracy soared. The listeners chose the correct orientation 75 percent of the time.
Erik C. Tracy of Ohio State, lead author of the study, said:Again, it's interesting. Check out the rest of the article and study.
I’m not sure what exactly the listeners are responding to in the vowel. Other researchers have done various acoustic analyses to understand why gay and heterosexual men produce vowels differently. Whatever this difference is, it seems that listeners are using it to make this sexual orientation decision. … We believe that listeners are using the acoustic information contained in vowels to make this sexual orientation decision.