New research shows female psychologists preferred in sport
MSc Psychology of Sport & Exercise student, Rebecca Mitchell, carried out a study that was presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference last week.
In it, she asked participants to listen to four different voices: a high-pitched male voice; a low-pitched male voice; a high-pitched female voice; and a low-pitched female voice. They were then told to rate each speaker on four characteristics: their sports knowledge, personality, effectiveness and how likely they would be to seek their services.
It was found that the 93 participants (45 female, 48 male) perceived the female voices more positively in each of the four characteristics than the male voices. The low-pitched female voice was perceived to have the most sport knowledge, to be the most effective sport psychology consultant, and was most likely to be sought after for her services, whilst the high-pitched female voice was perceived most positively in terms of personality.
Rebecca commented: "These findings challenge the historically prevalent view that male psychologists are more successful and show that gender equality has made progress in sport. It also demonstrates that a sport psychology consultant's voice is an important characteristic in the formation of first impressions and that this should be carefully considered by practitioners in conjunction with other observable characteristics, eg clothing, when attempting to create a positive first impression."