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Thread: Responding in a high pitched childish voice as defense mechanism

  1. #1 Responding in a high pitched childish voice as defense mechanism 
    Teb
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    Ok so this left me puzzled.
    I know a couple of woman that when in a situation that requires the slightest of self confidence (asking for something, responding to critics etc.) start speaking in a high pitched childish voice.

    Now i couldn't find this anywhere, and im tending to lean towards serious self confidence and self worth issues, where they are using this behavior as a shield.

    Can anyone here add something to this ?


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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Perhaps it was an attempt to draw attention away from the issue itself? I usually talk in a lighter, higher pitched voice when around young children/toddlers, as my normal voice is raspy and deep which tends to scare them.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    I would guess at self-confidence issues. Some people think its cute - I used to know a bloke that got all childish when he was asking for a favour and as much as I liked him it always provoked a strong feeling of disgust in me. I think people play the child-like card for a couple of reasons - its hard to be angry at a child (mostly) and so they might think that behaving like that will halt any aggressiveness/irritation from the person being adressed or they think they are so cute doing it the person just wont be able to say no. Either way its manipulation whether they are consciously doing it or not.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  5. #4  
    Teb
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    ..it always provoked a strong feeling of disgust in me. I think people play the child-like card for a couple of reasons - its hard to be angry at a child (mostly) and so they might think that behaving like that will halt any aggressiveness/irritation from the person being adressed or they think they are so cute doing it the person just wont be able to say no. Either way its manipulation whether they are consciously doing it or not.
    Manipulation is indeed a driving factor in this. There are no doubt self confidence issues but since they try to provoke a specific response i.e. a yes instead of a no it is manipulation. As for the reaction it provokes, i think only parents and maybe the blinded-by-puppy-love-boy/girlfriend think this is cute, in anyone else it will provoke a negative reaction.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    I know of one very cute petite blonde lady whose voice literally would change to a higher pitch when an attractive man entered the room. Another female friend and I looked at each other with 'Spock eyebrows' because it was so bloody hilarious to us.

    In an employment situation there is another female whom I observe uses a fairly normal voice for conversation with those who work under her and switches to a most aggravating child-like tone in the presence of those whom she works beneath and also myself, though I have no rank above her at the store. My husband is in management though and I have considerable authority at my other job so perhaps that is the trigger. 'Manipulative' is an understatement where that one is concerned.

    An interesting thread topic...
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  7. #6  
    Teb
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    Interesting to see all these replies as tbh these few cases I seen are very rare, and I think it also has to do with culture. Here in Holland people tend to go with the more no-nonsense attitude. It would be interesting to see if manipulative behavior is prudent in these subjects or if it's a side effect from this behavior. I am leaning more towards the former though.
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  8. #7  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    When people are nervous or anxious, as could possibly be the case in the two examples I have given in post # 5, there is a tendency toward shallower breathing which will affect the tone of one's speech because they are not utilizing the support of the diaphragm.

    Where nervousness is NOT the issue, the person who is intentionally changing the pitch of their voice may be cognizant that a childlike voice is deemed to be less threatening and that is where manipulation becomes the concern. They are attempting to deflect attention away from themselves or their actions.

    For some people having a naturally child-like voice can be an impediment to advancement as a more relaxed and confident voice is preferred by most people, whether they consciously realize this or not. Professional voice training can be of assistance for those whose career may include public speaking, politics or are looking to advance within corporations.
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  9. #8  
    Teb
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    In the cases i'm referring to it is done intentionally even with misspelling words and sentences. sometimes even with the odd pursed lips and doggy eyes, as in changing the way they appear to the world in body language as well as tone of voice and speech.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    In the cases i'm referring to it is done intentionally even with misspelling words and sentences. sometimes even with the odd pursed lips and doggy eyes, as in changing the way they appear to the world in body language as well as tone of voice and speech.
    That's interesting. Are these individuals apprehensive of punishment for inadequate performance or perhaps seeking to avoid responsibilities?

    One individual at the workplace was overheard to remark to a co-worker that whenever management would assign her a new task, she would willingly take it on but do it so badly that they would not ask her to do it again. This one also uses change in voice pitch but not to the same degree as the other. Not lacking in intelligence but lacking incentive in my observations. Seeking the path of least resistance is a common strategy among all species. I wonder if that has some bearing on the behaviors we are describing? Individuals having found a niche and not wanting to move beyond their comfort zone?
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  11. #10  
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    Seeking to avoid responsibilities is an understatement; they tend to always externalize all negative aspect. Even going as far as contributing negative experiences to the "evil eye" or "karma". Theres a strong self-serving bias. Also they approach almost all new experiences with a negative undertone as if they are shielding themselves from disappointment i.e. when they meet new people they tend to attribute negative reasoning behind every act:

    1. That woman walked in the room and deliberately didn't greet me.
    2. That dress i bought had a stain on it, i bet that she thought she could dump it on me.
    3. Why is everyone looking at me when i walk down the street.

    This is just a few things that is repeated on a daily basis.
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    I have seen people do this, when in situations where they are very uncomfortable. I have also seen people do this in large crowds to gain attention. I can understand this happening when nervous, for some people, but I find it utterly ANNOYING when in a social environment and someone does this.
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    In the cases i'm referring to it is done intentionally even with misspelling words and sentences. sometimes even with the odd pursed lips and doggy eyes, as in changing the way they appear to the world in body language as well as tone of voice and speech.
    That's interesting. Are these individuals apprehensive of punishment for inadequate performance or perhaps seeking to avoid responsibilities?

    One individual at the workplace was overheard to remark to a co-worker that whenever management would assign her a new task, she would willingly take it on but do it so badly that they would not ask her to do it again. This one also uses change in voice pitch but not to the same degree as the other. Not lacking in intelligence but lacking incentive in my observations. Seeking the path of least resistance is a common strategy among all species. I wonder if that has some bearing on the behaviors we are describing? Individuals having found a niche and not wanting to move beyond their comfort zone?
    This is when you re-assign them the task, with a statement as to since they didn't seem to understand the task well, and didn't perform it in a precise manner, you felt they need additional training in it, so they would fully understand the task. It is a new way to ignite incentive.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    In the cases i'm referring to it is done intentionally even with misspelling words and sentences. sometimes even with the odd pursed lips and doggy eyes, as in changing the way they appear to the world in body language as well as tone of voice and speech.
    That's interesting. Are these individuals apprehensive of punishment for inadequate performance or perhaps seeking to avoid responsibilities?

    One individual at the workplace was overheard to remark to a co-worker that whenever management would assign her a new task, she would willingly take it on but do it so badly that they would not ask her to do it again. This one also uses change in voice pitch but not to the same degree as the other. Not lacking in intelligence but lacking incentive in my observations. Seeking the path of least resistance is a common strategy among all species. I wonder if that has some bearing on the behaviors we are describing? Individuals having found a niche and not wanting to move beyond their comfort zone?
    This is when you re-assign them the task, with a statement as to since they didn't seem to understand the task well, and didn't perform it in a precise manner, you felt they need additional training in it, so they would fully understand the task. It is a new way to ignite incentive.
    (Chuckle...)

    The dear lady was given extensive tutoring AND a schedule of times and expectations that even a five year old could comprehend. The task has been laid out so that it is impossible to fail unless one does not even attempt it. She likes to flap her lips too much when she is on task and that is the fault of past management for not being more diligent and nipping it in the bud. The schedule of how much time each component should take is proving to be of some help.

    The only way to 'ignite incentive' in that one is with a cattle prod, IMO.
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  15. #14  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    In the cases i'm referring to it is done intentionally even with misspelling words and sentences. sometimes even with the odd pursed lips and doggy eyes, as in changing the way they appear to the world in body language as well as tone of voice and speech.
    That's interesting. Are these individuals apprehensive of punishment for inadequate performance or perhaps seeking to avoid responsibilities?

    One individual at the workplace was overheard to remark to a co-worker that whenever management would assign her a new task, she would willingly take it on but do it so badly that they would not ask her to do it again. This one also uses change in voice pitch but not to the same degree as the other. Not lacking in intelligence but lacking incentive in my observations. Seeking the path of least resistance is a common strategy among all species. I wonder if that has some bearing on the behaviors we are describing? Individuals having found a niche and not wanting to move beyond their comfort zone?
    This is when you re-assign them the task, with a statement as to since they didn't seem to understand the task well, and didn't perform it in a precise manner, you felt they need additional training in it, so they would fully understand the task. It is a new way to ignite incentive.
    (Chuckle...)

    The dear lady was given extensive tutoring AND a schedule of times and expectations that even a five year old could comprehend. The task has been laid out so that it is impossible to fail unless one does not even attempt it. She likes to flap her lips too much when she is on task and that is the fault of past management for not being more diligent and nipping it in the bud. The schedule of how much time each component should take is proving to be of some help.

    The only way to 'ignite incentive' in that one is with a cattle prod, IMO.
    *laughing* that is hilarious.....but one way to get a stray calf back into the "herd" so to speak!
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  16. #15  
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    I do this, gotta admit - I work in a shop and I've noticed that I speak in a higher pitched voice when conversing with customers than I do normally and to my colleagues. I think it might be because, stereotypically, women have higher voices so there's the feeling of being in constant with social norms? I don't know. I do know that when I've tried to adjust the pitch of my voice it has made me feel uncomfortable to speak at my normal lower level. In regard to wanting something, it could be to invoke a paternal/maternal instinct in the other person: it's more difficult to refuse someone something if you see them as being more childlike. Again, this is purely speculation: would be interesting to know for certain. Sorry if any of this has been said already!!
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  17. #16  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Ive never seen this, but I have seen something else, when people are happy(good mood) and talk to a child or a dog (or small animal), and their voice become higher pitch without realizing it (it sounds more playful/less threatening).
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Frankly, in theatre, you don't speak high pitched unless it is required........lower pitches tend to deliver the emotions and poignancy in lines better.

    Now in the musical sense...if I hit a high C.....they get the picture.
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  19. #18  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    This might be of interest: Language Log "Sexy baby vocal virus"
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  20. #19  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Ive never seen this, but I have seen something else, when people are happy(good mood) and talk to a child or a dog (or small animal), and their voice become higher pitch without realizing it (it sounds more playful/less threatening).
    And with a simplified grammar (avoidance of pronouns, etc.). It is an example of motherese, which may have a role in helping language acquisition by children.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    This might be of interest: Language Log "Sexy baby vocal virus"
    An interesting read, Strange, and the vocal demonstration of the sexy baby girl voice is exactly the affectation that I have referred to in earlier posts. It is obviously not the person's normal voice and so it begs the question of what are the triggering mechanisms? Is it completely voluntary, completely involuntary or a bit of both? In the women that I have observed this behavior in, it appears to be a response to the presence of an authoritative and/or desirable male arriving on the scene although one person responds this way to both genders who are in a more dominant position than herself...unless she has been caught out in a situation. At those times her voice becomes strident but not that annoying imploring tone.
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  22. #21  
    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    This might be of interest: Language Log "Sexy baby vocal virus"
    IT sure worked for Marilyn Monroe!!!

    Thanks for the link.
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  23. #22  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    Interesting to see all these replies as tbh these few cases I seen are very rare, and I think it also has to do with culture. Here in Holland people tend to go with the more no-nonsense attitude. It would be interesting to see if manipulative behavior is prudent in these subjects or if it's a side effect from this behavior. I am leaning more towards the former though.
    This made me laugh.

    I spent 3 years in The Hague and I must say Dutch women in my experience are typically very open and direct, even disconcertingly so to an Englishman. They speak to you as an equal, and as if they've known you for ages. It's very engaging and friendly, once you are over the shock. So I can scarcely imagine a Dutch woman behaving as you describe.

    I therefore imagine that, to a Dutchman, who has presumably grown up expecting this directness, this atypical behaviour must be appallingly, toe-curlingly, irritating!
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