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Women With Vocal Fry Seen As Less Hirable

June 10, 2014 | By admin

What is vocal fry?

According to Dr. Reena Gupta, Director of the Division of Voice and Laryngology at Osborne Head & Neck Institute, “Vocal fry is the low, vibratory sound that comes in some people’s speech, particularly at the end of sentences.

Many years ago, vocal fry is considered a disorder but now, researchers at Long Island University have noted an increase in number of people, particularly young women, whose voices were normal started talking with a creaky voice. It’s even prevalent on TV and music. Think of the voices of Zooey Deschanel, Kim Kardashian, and Britney Spears.

It may seem cool for people, specially the younger generation, to have vocal fry but a recent study suggests that it may affect negatively the chances of a woman from getting hired.

A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE was conducted by Duke University researchers led by Rindy Anderson. They wanted to know whether vocal fry had positive or negative effects on how people who used the technique were perceived.

The researchers recorded seven women between the ages of 19 and 27 and seven men aged 20 to 30 saying “thank you for considering me for this opportunity.” Each person spoke the phrase twice, one in their normal tone of voice and the other in vocal fry. The authors asked 800 participants aged 18 to 65 to listen to the recording online and make judgements about the candidates based on voice alone. The participants were asked to rate how attractive, competent, educated, and trustworthy the voices sounded to them, and how willing they’d be to hire the person.

In more than 80 percent of tests, the results showed that the person with a normal voice is perceived as more attractive, competent, hirable, and trustworthy. However, when speaking in vocal fry, women suffered more than men. They were seen as less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive, and less hirable. The researchers concluded that, “Collectively, these results suggest young American women should avoid vocal fry in order to maximize labor market perceptions, particularly when being interviewed by another woman.”

The study didn’t offer an advice to women with naturally creaky voices.

Vocal fry may be hard on the ears, but remember that during an interview, you come as a whole package and you’re not assessed based on your voice and a single phrase alone.

Photo credit: “IMG_2004” by bpsusf is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


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