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The rise of the 'sexy baby voice': Why we change our voices when speaking to certain people

Caroline Allen
Contributor


Jessica's change in voice went viral. (Netflix)

If you’ve been watching Love Is Blind, you might’ve noticed how contestant, Jessica Batten’s voice changed when she was speaking to men she liked.

Her voice change went viral on Twitter where viewers dubbed it the “sexy baby voice”.

The voice isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, it was featured in In A World, a film directed by Lake Bell in 2013.

In short, it’s when people speak like a baby but with a sexier lilt and people have got opinions on it.

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It came to the forefront after Batten, 34, spoke to her two love interests, Mark Cuevas and Matt Barnett.

When she spoke to camera, Batten’s voice was a levelled one, but when she spoke to Cuevas or Barnett, the sexy baby voice reared its head.

Changing your voice to suit certain situations is nothing new.

Many of us would’ve laughed at the way our parents put on phone voices when the home phone chimed and we didn’t immediately know who it was.

We’ve also all been privy to slightly altering our voices to suit our surroundings. Whether it’s becoming squeakier when you’re around your friends or deeper when you’re speaking to a woman you’re attracted to.

Many of us will do it without even knowing we’re doing it. Unless, of course, somebody points it out.

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Into The Gloss described Batten’s voice as: “a mix of high pitch, vocal fry, and up-talk”.

In fact, many of us will do it every day. We’ll heighten our voices at the end of sentences or even when we say “hi” to people.

As it turns out, there’s research behind why people use this voice in certain situations.

The University of Stirling found that people change the pitch of their voice dependent on how dominant they feel in the conversation.

Although the Love Is Blind example is about a woman, men aren’t immune to this change in voice, either.

According to the research, both men and women will speak to their bosses in tone they deem as being as “higher-status” than their everyday voice.

The aim here is to sound more knowledgeable and people - often subconsciously - speak with a different voice in an attempt to convey that.

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