The effects of voice pitch and race on perceived leadership ability and threat


We experimentally tested whether voice pitch differentially affects perceptions of leadership and threat in Black and White men using a within-subjects design involving over 500 participants recruited from an online market. All data were analyzed using multilevel models. As expected, men with lower-pitched voices were rated as more threatening, regardless of their race. Unexpectedly, we found a main effect of race on perceived leadership ability, where Black men were rated higher on leadership traits than White men. Overall, the findings do not suggest that Black men with lower-pitched voices were disadvantaged relative to their counterparts with higher-pitched voices. We discuss possible explanations for our findings, with implications for Black men in the workplace.

Keana Richards
Keana Richards
Doctoral researcher

Studying psychology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania.