I believe it's understood what type of voice I'm refering to, but for context I'm linking this youtube video where that type of voice is clearly heard:


Why do people in general find such type of voice funny?


1 Answer 1


Two things come to mind for me.. First, at a very basic level, things that are perceptually salient capture our attention (Corbetta & Shulman, 2002), and this is obviously important for understanding our environment and assessing changes for threats (e.g.). In the video you linked, you have that perceptual salience and it's also in an animated and clearly exaggerated fashion.

The second thing that comes to mind is the voices that older children and adults make when communicating with infants. This sort of speech seems to serve an attentional/affective function (Gauthier & Shi, 2011), and research suggests that this sort of speech is actually a reflection of the infant's own communication styles (Smith & Trainor, 2008). Obviously, we might use such a voice because it sounds funny to them and we might get the infant to laugh. Who knows whether we intrinsically find it funny (if so, why?), or whether we learn to laugh at it as infants. It could well be that we simply come hardwired to interpret a perceptually salient and non-threatening social stimulus like that to be amusing.


Corbetta, M., & Shulman, G. L. (2002). Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain. Nature reviews neuroscience, 3(3), 201.
DOI: 10.1038/nrn755 PMID: 11994752

Gauthier, B., & Shi, R. (2011). A connectionist study on the role of pitch in infant-directed speech. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(6), EL380-EL386.
DOI: 10.1121/1.3653546 PMID: 22225130

Smith, N. A., & Trainor, L. J. (2008). Infant-directed speech is modulated by infant feedback. Infancy, 13(4), 410-420.
DOI: 10.1080/15250000802188719

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Do you have any reference materials to provide which back up your claims? We require answers to be backed up by research and as it stands, your answer could be open to challenge as just opinion. $\endgroup$ Jun 2, 2018 at 14:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I realised after I posted I probably should have backed up the points. Updated the post now. $\endgroup$
    – fffrost
    Jun 2, 2018 at 14:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.