Confrontation is never easy. While it is challenging to confront others, it is all the more difficult to confront ourselves.
Often, when we listen to our own recorded voice, we fail to recognise it as ours. The pitch of the voice sounds unfamiliar and many people start hating or fearing it.
This is apparently called voice confrontation and scientists might have an explanation to it.
Experts are of the view that when we hear other people speaking, the sound travels into our ears through air conduction. And when we listen to own voice, we receive both sound, externally by air conduction and internally through bone conduction.
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The frequencies of these two sounds are different. Now, when we listen to our recorded voice, the bone conduction element is missing from it and thus our voice sounds different.
The difference is so alarming that some people even cringe listening to their own recorded voice.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Silke Paulmann, a psychologist at the University of Essex, said:
I would speculate that the fact that we sound more high-pitched than what we think leads us to cringe as it doesn’t meet our internal expectations; our voice plays a massive role in forming our identity and I guess no one likes to realise that you’re not really who you think you are.
Now, this might be only half of the explanation. A study by other psychologists in 1966 concluded that voice confrontation arises not only from a difference in expected frequency, but from a striking revelation of our personality traits when we hear our recorded voice.
We get to know our anxiety, sadness, anger, etc. And this can lead to a fear of hearing our voice.
A neuroscientist at McGill University also agrees with this study. He says:
When we hear our isolated voice which is disembodied from the rest of our behaviour, we may go through the automatic process of evaluating our own voice in the way we routinely do with other people’s voices.
So, the next time you get frightened upon hearing your squeaky ‘Mickey Mouse’ kind of voice, remember that you do not sound the same to others.