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Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female 276

PolygamousRanchKid writes with an article exploring the question posed in the headline, which says that "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.' One notable exception has been Germany, where BMW was forced to recall a female-voiced navigation system on its 5 Series cars in the late 1990s after being flooded with calls from German men saying they refused to take directions from a woman. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on why the company gave Siri a female voice in the U.S. Nor would she say why Siri speaks like a man in the UK, where iPhone 4S owners have swarmed online forums to request a female voice instead."
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Why Computer Voices Are Mostly Female

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  • Re:Opposite Sex (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @02:41PM (#37811054)

    Surely most people prefer to listen to the opposite sex,

    Actually, no. Research has shown better response to female voices by both men and women.

  • Re:Hmmm, nope. (Score:4, Informative)

    by nathan s ( 719490 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @02:59PM (#37811216) Homepage

    From TFA:

    '"It's much easier to find a female voice that everyone likes than a male voice that everyone likes..."'

    It's not that there are no people who find male voices pleasant or prefer them in some circumstances. Just that _generally_ people prefer female voices. I certainly do.

  • Not a myth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @03:15PM (#37811330)
    In WW2 ground controllers for the British Air Force were almost all women. I was told (by someone who had good reason to know) that there was a debate about whether to have women radio operators in the aircraft. There were two reasons: One was more reliable communication, the other was to prevent the Germans spoofing aircraft radio operators. A number of women operators were asked for their views and immediately volunteered to fly (a very dangerous occupation). Despite this, the proposal was turned down. The attitudes at the time were truly backward; there were women pilots who were allowed to deliver aircraft to their bases, but they were not allowed to fly with guns loaded - a quite incomprehensible decision since some of them were shot down by enemy action without a chance of fighting back.
  • by GIL_Dude ( 850471 ) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @06:11PM (#37812442) Homepage
    No, he is talking about Majel Barret playing Number One in "The Cage" - the original Start Trek pilot with Captain Pike; the one that was later made into "The Menagerie" where Spock was court martial-ed for returning Pike to Talos IV after his severe radiation burns rendered him wheel chair bound. []

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.