Fertility affects male speech patterns

New data suggests that male speech patterns may change in response to a woman’s menstrual cycle. The patterns, called linguistic matching, are evident when the male changes his speech to mimic the woman he is talking with.

A study published recently in PLoS ONE demonstrated that male speech patterns were more likely to mimic a particular female’s speech when she was at a fertile point in her menstrual cycle. Researchers observed each of 123 male college students as they talked individually with 5 different women at different points in their menstrual cycles.

The males’ speech patterns matched the females patterns 62% of the time when the woman was most fertile, compared to 50% of the time when she wasn’t. Interestingly, the researchers did not observe corresponding changes in the females’ speech patterns in response to fertility.

The study’s authors are unsure of why linguistic matching occurs in response to fertility.  However, it may be a response to the woman’s behavior during high fertility that triggers the speech changes.