Lowering the Pitch of Your Voice Makes You Feel More Powerful and Think More Abstractly

Mariëlle Stel* (Corresponding Author), Eric van Dijk, Pamela K. Smith, Wilco W. van Dijk, Farah M. Djalal

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)
    8 Downloads (Pure)


    Voice pitch may not only influence the listeners but also the speakers themselves. Based on the theories of embodied cognition and previous research on power, we tested whether lowering their pitch leads people to feel more powerful and think more abstractly. In three experiments, participants received instructions to read a text out loud with either a lower or a higher voice than usual. Subsequently, feelings of power (Experiments 1 and 2) and abstract thinking (Experiment 3) were assessed. Participants who lowered their voice pitch perceived themselves more as possessing more powerful traits (Experiments 1 and 2) and had a higher level of abstract thinking (Experiment 3) compared to participants who raised their voice pitch.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)497-502
    Number of pages6
    JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


    • abstract thinking
    • dominance
    • embodiment
    • pitch
    • power
    • vocal feedback
    • voice


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