The study by Albright College has found that people unknowingly assessed their own recorded voice as sounding more attractive in comparison to how others rated their voices, which is considered a form of unconscious self-enhancement.
Susan Hughes, associate professor of psychology, said that people generally people often think that they have more attractive or possess better qualities than they actually do. This is sometimes used as a mechanism to build self-esteem or fight against depression.
For the study, 80 men and women assessed the voice attractiveness of an array of different voice recordings of people counting from one to 10. Unbeknownst to participants, researchers included three different samples of participants' own voice recordings in the group.
Researchers believe that most participants did not recognize or realize their own voices were included, yet rated their own voices as sounding more attractive than how other raters judged their voices. Participants also rated their own voices more favourably than they had rated the voices of other people.
"Given this age of heightened narcissism, this study provides further evidence that individuals seem to inflate their opinions of themselves by thinking the sound of their own voices is more attractive," Hughes said.
According to the study, participants may have also preferred their own voice due to a mere exposure effect and the tendency to like the familiar. This effect may have still been a factor even if participants were not overtly aware they were hearing their own voice.
The study is to be published in the journal Perception.