Four listeners who were experienced with children's voices audited 320 samples of children's singing voices from the age range 4-11 years and judged the sexi of each singer using a response procedure that incorporated a confidence measure. Inter-judge correlations were high. 71.57% of identifications were positive and 44.37% were made with the maximum confidence level. Trend analyses showed a significant relationship between sex identification and age for boys, but this was not evident for girls.
The response procedure allowed the creation of an index of confusability for each singer. When the most confusable and least confusable singers of each gender were identified, and their mean group ages calculated, highly significant differences between the ages of the most and least confusable boys were noted, but differences for girls were not significant.
Introspections by judges as to auditory cues that they considered had contributed to their judgments reflected factors that have been suggested in the speech research literature. These included breathiness and huskiness of tone at higher frequencies, differences in consonants and perceived personality factors.
The data indicate the presence of gender characteristics in children's singing voices sufficient to permit identifications at levels at least as reliable as those demonstrated for speech. Nevertheless, a small percentage of children of each sex and each age group were misattributed by all four judges.
2005. Vol. 24, no 1, 28-29 p.