Today we will be telling you exactly why people prefer female voices in gadgets more that the male ones. Is it because folks find a female voice more attractive than a male voice or is there a scientific reason behind it? Read on below to find out.
Apple’s newest offering, the iPhone 4S, comes complete with an assistant. A female one named Siri. But why did Apple choose to make the assistant a female? Why not male or even gender-neutral? Why are so many of the computer voices we hear female and why are female voices in gadgets becoming the new trend? Well, as most things, it has to do with human psychology.
Scientists have discovered that people prefer to hear women’s voices over men’s. That’s why most GPS navigation systems come equipped with a female voice.
“It’s much easier to find a female voice that everyone likes than a male voice that everyone likes,” said Stanford University Professor Clifford Nass, author of “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships.” “It’s a well-established phenomenon that the human brain is developed to like female voices.”
HAL, the homicidal artificial intelligence computer in the movie “2001: A space Odyssey,” may have frightened manufacturers away from male automated voices.
Research suggests this preference for female voices starts as early as the womb, Nass said. He cites a study in which fetuses were found to react to the sound of their mother’s voice but not to other female voices. The fetuses showed no separate reaction to their father’s voice, however.
Another solution lies in history. According to some sources, the use of female voices in gadgets and navigation devices dates back to World War II, when women’s voices were used in airplane cockpits because they stood out among the all-male pilots. Also, telephone operators have traditionally been female, making people familiar with getting help from a disembodied woman’s voice.
When automakers were first installing automated voice prompts in cars, such as “your door is ajar”, decades ago, their consumer research found that people significantly favored female voices in gadgets to male ones, said Tim Bajarin, a Silicon Valley analyst and president of Creative Strategies Inc.
This is one explanation as to why in almost all GPS navigation systems on the market, the default voice is female. A noteworthy exclusion is Germany, where BMW was forced to recall a female-voiced navigation system on its 5 Series cars in the late 1990s after being inundated with calls from German men complaining that they refused to take directions from a woman.
“Cultural stereotypes run deep,” said Nass, who details the BMW episode in his book.
So did you enjoy this article about why female voices in gadgets are preferred more than the male ones. Which voice do you prefer to hear in your gadgets, please do tell us by a comment!
This is a guest post by Christine Kane. If you are interested in writing for us, then please check our guest posting guidelines.