Photo: Herry Lawford via flickr
If you ask Siri what gender it is, the iPhone 4S personal assistant doesn’t give a clear answer.But many have assumed from its tone that Siri is female (in most countries anyway — in France and the UK, Siri’s voice is masculine).
From GPS devices to voicemail boxes, most computerized voices are female. The reason likely boils down to psychology.
Scientific studies have found that humans prefer the sound of a woman’s voice to a man’s. The preference begins at an early age too. Stanford University professor Clifford Nass cites a study in which fetuses react to their mother’s voice, but not to other female voices or their father’s voice.
Another possible reason for all of the female computer voices? Our history, says CNN’s Brandon Griggs.
“According to some sources, the use of female voices in navigation devices dates back to World War II, when women’s voices were employed in aeroplane cockpits because they stood out among the male pilots. And telephone operators have traditionally been female, making people accustomed to getting assistance from a disembodied woman’s voice.”
For more on why computerized voices are distinctly feminine, head over to CNN.