Female voice strikes the right warning tone

December 18, 1998

"Female and fearful" is the strongest warning voice, say researchers at the University of Plymouth.

Psychologists Kate Walters and Judy Edworthy asked undergraduates to rate the importance of neutral and fear words spoken with different voices and intonations. New technology means researchers were able to alter the pitch and other acoustic features of words.

Words presented in a female and fearful tone were seen as the most urgent by both males and females. This has clear implications for the growing use of automated warning systems, the researchers told the London meeting.

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