According to a new study by David Smith and colleagues from the University of Aberdeen in the UK, published online in Springer's journal, Memory & Cognition, a man’s low masculine voice is important for both mate choice and the accuracy of women's ability to remember. The study indicates that if you want women to remember, speak to them in a low pitch voice. Depending on what they remember about you, they may or may not rate you as a potential mate.
In a series of two experiments, Smith and colleagues show that memory in women is sensitive to male voice pitch, a cue important for mate choice because it can indicate genetic quality as well as signal behavioural traits undesirable in a long-term partner. These could include antisocial traits and lack of emotional warmth for example. In order to evaluate potential partners, women appear to rely on their memories to rapidly provide information about the attributes and past behaviour of potential partners.
Smith concludes: "Our findings demonstrate that women's memory is enhanced with lower pitch male voices, compared with the less attractive raised pitch male voices. Our two experiments indicate for the first time that signals from the opposite-sex that are important for mate choice also affect the accuracy of women's memory."
This may be a significant factor in mate choice because it can hint at testosterone levels and genetic quality, evolutionary psychologists suggest. “Lower-pitched men’s voices are not only rated as more attractive, but are associated with a greater number of reported sexual partners, and greater reproductive success than are higher-pitched men’s voices,”.
Dr. Kevin Allan, who supervised the research, said, "We think this is evidence that evolution has shaped women's ability to remember information associated with desirable men. Good memory for specific encounters with desirable men allows women to compare and evaluate men according to how they might behave in different relationship contexts, for example a long-term committed relationship versus a short-term uncommitted relationship. This would help women to pick a suitable partner, and that's a particularly important ability to have because the costs of poor mate-choice decisions can be severe."
Smith D et al (2011). A modulatory effect of male voice pitch on long-term memory in women: evidence of adaptation for mate choice? Memory & Cognition. DOI 10.1007/s13421-011-0136-6