When men and women speak, the human brain processes the sounds of those voices differently, Britain’s Mirror and Agence France Presse report of a new study from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield. While most of us actually hear female voices more clearly, men’s brains hear women’s voices first as music. But it’s not music. It’s someone giving them a honey-do list. So the brain goes into overdrive trying to analyze what is being said. Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men’s brains are not designed to listen to women’s voices. It’s not the pitch of the woman’s voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man’s voice and recognize it as speech. “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” lead researcher Michael Hunter told The Mirror. “When men hear a male voice they process it in the ‘mind’s eye.’ This is the part of the brain where people compare their experiences to themselves, so the man is comparing his own voice to the new voice.” Here’s a really bizarre side effect: These findings help explain why people who suffer hallucinations usually hear male voices. It’s just too hard for the brain to create a false feminine voice as accurately as it can create a false masculine voice.  The research findings were published in the journal NeuroImage.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

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