How Can I Tell If My Partner’s Cheating On Me? One Weird Clue Might Be In Their Voice
If you’re worried about a partner remaining faithful, it turns out you may have an extremely easy (and ethical) way to find out. All it takes is a keen set of ears, but you may not have to actually ask your partner anything. According to a new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, you may be able to tell if someone’s cheated in a relationship by listening to their voice — even if they're not saying much of anything at all.
Researchers asked 152 college students to listen to recordings of both male and female voices counting from one to 10, and rate the likelihood the speaker had cheated in a past or current relationship. All of the people who recorded messages were currently in an exclusive relationship, which ensured they’d had a chance to cheat.
First, participants were asked whether they considered kissing, intimate touching, oral sex, or sexual intercourse to be cheating. Then, they listened to 20 recordings. Half of the recordings featured people who'd never cheated, and half featured people who had cheated at some point. Incredibly, the students were able to identify those who had been unfaithful by rating them more likely to cheat on a scale of one to 10.
"Evidence suggests that many physical, behavioral, and trait qualities can be detected solely from the sound of a person’s voice, irrespective of the semantic information conveyed through speech," says the study's abstract, including, apparently, whether or not they have a wandering eye. Researchers aren't sure why exactly we can tell these qualities from someone's voice, but it sure makes for an interesting thought experiment.
Researchers Have No Idea What Makes Cheaters Sound Different To Listeners
The researchers who conducted the study worked to eliminate any bias and only used voice samples from people who identified as straight, white, and unmarried. The study also adjusted for voice pitch and attractiveness, so it wasn’t like some recordings featured ridiculously alluring voices.
So how can people pick up on whether someone’s committed infidelity? Researchers aren’t sure, and say further research is required to determine what makes a cheater sound different to the average person. One possibility, according to the study’s findings, is articulation. Previous research has found that mumbling could make people more suspicious of your faithfulness. (Note to self: enunciate all words.)
Something else to consider, according to the results, is that people may be able to pick up on whether someone is extroverted through a voice recording, and one study found extroverts are statistically more likely to cheat.
Women Are More Likely To Suspect Infidelity
As we mentioned above, researchers adjusted for pitch tone and had people listen to both high- and low-pitched samples, but it didn't make much of a difference when it came to female suspicion. Women were more likely to suspect men of cheating, regardless of the pitch of the male voice sample. The only scenario where men suspected women had cheated at a high rate was when listening to a recording with a lower-pitched female voice.
This could be consistent with previous research: One Australian study found women are more likely to go through a partner's phone. It could also just mean women are less trusting of men — although that may be for good reason.
Deep Voices Are More Suspicious Than High-Pitched Ones
Idris Elba, we love you and your deep AF voice, but according to this study, voices manipulated to a lower pitch sounded more like cheaters to participants.
This could happen for a number of reasons. One of the study's authors told theWashington Post that it could be because low female voices are often perceived as flirtatious. Previous research has found that men with deep voices could be more likely to cheat and seek short-term relationships.
The study isn't definitive, and more research is required to figure out why people are able to call out cheaters, but the results are definitely interesting. It bears repeating, thought, that the easiest way to find out if someone is being honest is to find a partner who can communicate openly. If you're at the point where you need them to count from one to 10 so you can figure out if they're cheating, it might be time to move on. Still, if all else fails, just listen to them — you might pick up on something.