The power of the female voice - a fertile woman's voice can make a man's skin tingle within 5 seconds - new science research - article
From Lauren Bacall's killer line "You know how to whistle don't you?" in the 1944 classic To Have and Have Not, to Mariella Frostrup's honey-on-gravel huskiness, women's voices have renowned powers of seduction.
Now scientists have established that a man's skin really does tingle when he hears a woman speak.
Scientists believe hormonal changes at the fertile time of the monthly cycle may have a physiological effect on the woman's larynx to which listeners react unconsciously.
American researchers have found that electrical activity in a man's skin increases, along with his heart rate, within five seconds of hearing the voice of a female at her most fertile.
And that, they say, suggests that the speed of the nervous system's reaction means he is attracted by the voice before he is consciously aware of what is happening.
The study gives a new perspective on the Spike Jonze film Her, in which a man falls in love with an intelligent computer operating system personified by a faceless female voice, a role performed by Scarlett Johansson.
Dr Melanie Shoup-Knox of James Madison University in America, who carried out the study with Dr Nate Pipitone of Adams State University, said: "A man's ability to identify and respond to a fertile woman confers him a potential reproductive advantage when choosing between potential mates. Women, on the other hand, may get a competitive advantage from detecting the fertility status of other females."
Digital recordings of women speaking at fertile and non-fertile times of the menstrual cycle were played to males and females, who were then asked to rate them for attractiveness.
A report on the research in Physiology and Behavior showed that both men and women rated the fertile voices as the more attractive. The electrical activity in the skin of both men and women increased by about 20 per cent when listening to the fertile women's voices, and heart rates increased by about five per cent.