“To work with a concept of self is to conceptualize the human being as a locus of experience, including experience of that human’s own someoneness.” – Harris 1989
The video gives a scientific explanation of how our voices sound deeper in our own head than it actually is. Most people who hear a recording of their own voice tend to dislike the unfamiliarity of it. Whilst most people express this strangeness with negativity, a research paper shows that they are actually more attracted to their own voices when they did not recognize the recording as their own (Hughes & Harrison 2013).
Self-bias of the Voice
Anthropological studies on personhood and the ‘self’ argue how an individual’s sense of personal identity is a product of acting upon and internalizing social experience. Embedded in this phenomenon is the role of publicly shared concepts in shaping private experience (Harris 1989). As I have mentioned in my previous post, we see this in action where there are gendered trends of how people manipulate their own voices in attempt to sexually attract another person. Such trends are drawn from publicly formed stereotypes about attractive men and women. The participants in the video kept on making references to sexual attractiveness about their own voice, regardless of how positive or negative their view on it was.
Technological Methods and Theory of Mind?
In general, it seems that the voice creates a discourse about the role of public concepts of sexual attractiveness that help shape a sense of self-identity. Our opinions of our own voices that diverge depending on whether or not we are aware that it belongs to us. On a side note, I think it is interesting that digital technology has provided a method of making explicit in how we see ourselves, not just through our own bodies, but also through virtual simulation. Again, this also demonstrates how this extent of theory of mind is unique in humans.
NB: The ideas I have discussed here can be found in the context of people looking at pictures or video recordings of themselves as well!
Harris, G. G. (1989) Concepts of Individual, Self, and Person in Description and Analysis. American Anthropologist, New Series 91(3): 599-612.
Hughes, S. M., Harrison, M. A. (2013) I like my voice better: Self-enhancement bias in perceptions of voice attractiveness. Perception 42: 941-949.