Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female

By Jason Fitzpatrick on October 24th, 2011

Whether you’re talking to an automated tech support line, watching Star Trek, or playing with Apple’s new Siri voice assistant, the voice of the computer is female. Science can explain why.

Over at CNN, and in reflection on the release of Siri, they pose the question: Why are computer voices mostly female?

One answer may lie in biology. Scientific studies have shown that people generally find women’s voices more pleasing than men’s.

“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.”

How well developed? The preference starts as early as the womb and is nearly universal. One of the few and more interesting exceptions from the article is that of the BMW GPS system installed in German cars. Since the late 1990s, in response to male German drivers not wanting to take directions from a woman (no matter how silicon-based), German BMW navigation systems have sported a male voice.

Hit up the link below for the full article including some rather interesting information about voice casting.

Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female [CNN]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/24/11
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