After talking to Siri on your iPhone 4S, you may have realized that you’re talking to a woman. Ask Siri, “What are you wearing?” and you’ll usually get a woman’s response.

If you haven’t realized that Siri is a she, then you prove the point of CNN’s Brandon Griggs: people subconsciously prefer a female voice over a male one. The preference apparently harkens back to biology.

“It’s much easier to find a female voice that everyone likes than a male voice that everyone likes,” said Stanford University Professor Clifford Nass, author of “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships.” “It’s a well-established phenomenon that the human brain is developed to like female voices.”

Research suggests this preference starts as early as the womb, Nass said. He cites a study in which fetuses were found to react to the sound of their mother’s voice but not to other female voices. The fetuses showed no distinct reaction to their father’s voice, however.”

People also seem to prefer a woman’s voice because of history. In World War II, women’s voices were used in airplane cockpits. Telephone operators have always been generalized as a disembodied women’s voice. When you call customer support or a company like AT&T, it’s always a woman’s voice that walks you through the instructions. People have come to expect artificial intelligence in the form of a female.

When Siri was first developed as a funded project by the military agency DARPA, the developers wanted to keep Siri gender neutral. When Siri launched on the App Store in 2010, the technology remained non-gender specific. It wasn’t until Apple bought Siri that the project was given a personality.

International readers will contest that Siri has a male voice in Europe. The reason for this decision on Apple’s part is unknown.

“An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on why the company gave Siri a female voice in the U.S. Nor would she say why Siri speaks like a man in the UK, where iPhone 4S owners have swarmed online forums to request a female voice instead. “Eww!! Hope UK gets female voice soon,” wrote one commenter. “I don’t think anyone in the US cares about male voice option.”

CNN also addresses the robotic tone that Siri has:

“What’s interesting to me is how they seem to intentionally make her speech sound artificial — they could choose to make her speech more seamless and human-like, but they choose instead to highlight the technology,” she said. “That makes you aware of how high-tech your gadget is.”

Do you prefer a woman’s voice for technology like Siri? Would you like the option to change Siri’s voice and personality?

  • KiKO4LiFE

    Why not optional?
    I mean just play with the voice waves to make it as a male voice o-O

    BTW I prefer a women voice ^^

  • Taz

    This is so true. I’m in England and the voice is male. So I changed the language to us English just to have a female.

  • Andrew`

    Wow people making a big deal out of siri voice software for the iphone already, come on do something else people

  • Steven

    I prefer the male voice, kinda like a posh James Bond accent

  • Sharpe340

    I used a friend’s 4s the other day and was disappointed to hear a male Siri assistant. I was hoping for a female assistant so I could ask her “What are u wearing?” lol.

    • Will


  • Mike

    Val Kilmer as K.I.T.T would be a great male voice

  • Siri UK sounds too robotic, we want a woman goddammit! Still, you have a misleading title. Siri isn’t a woman and more countries will probably get a male voice in time.

    It constantly refers to itself as a she though, I asked it to tell me a story once and it went on about how ‘She was so intelligent’.. if it was so intelligent it would know it was a man here 😉

    Changing to US English doesn’t really work as it has no idea what we are saying most of the time 🙁

  • Manuel

    Im still waiting for that GlaDos Soundpack 😛

  • kokhean

    My theory is that female voices sound a lot smoother as compared to the males’ ‘rough’ voices.

  • Bob Newhart

    I would use the UK voice if it wouldn’t mess with the locating nearby retail stores, I enjoy the voice quite a bit more, has that slight accent and the male voice doesn’t sound as artificial to me as the female one does.

  • Buck

    Womens voices were used in cockpits during WWII because almost all pilots and soldiers were male. So if there was a lot of comm chatter they wanted the emergency messages to be in a females voice so it was more distinct and grabbed your attention.

    • Potamus

      “almost all soldiers and (combat) pilots were male”????? In WWII…????
      Try ZERO.

    • Potamus

      “almost all soldiers and (combat) pilots were male”????? In WWII…????
      Try ZERO females.

  • Burge

    Change Siri to English Australian …cool as ..

  • Tobi

    I am from Germany but my Siri is female without changing the System Language ??:P

    • sss

      It would’ve been hittler for you

  • Dom Phillips

    Im also in the uk and am more than happy with male voice, I have tried the female US voice but went back to the uk male. Maybe as others have said, a choice may be good. However, I still feel some would then wish for local accents also. IT IS WHAT IT IS

  • plazma_009

    I wish they would make Siri speak like a REALLY hot woman. I would be talking to my phone all day! xD

  • Rob

    Homer Simpson or William Shatner. Or HAL2000

  • Shannon

    Because we know everything.

  • You are looking too far into it. The ONLY reason that Siri is a female voice instead of a male is that male iPhone users FAR outweigh the number of female iPhone users.

    • Yulia

      So why is Siri a male in UK?

  • Zuzijo

    I wouldn’t mind if he sounded like Sean Connery or Gerard Butler!!

  • zyx

    I’m in UK and I have English American language selected because I prefer the woman’s language and also because it understands me better than British. English is not my first language, I speak more American than British. Some of my British friends have problems speaking to Siri, American Siri, but when I change to British it’s even worse. Brits can’t speak clear English. I call it a lazy English 😛 it’s like speaking with a mouthful and Siri just confirmed it 😛

  • Shaross

    I’m so frustrated, my first iPhone 4S was the lovely female Siri, I had to get a replacement due to bad battery and now have a man – I don’t want a man, I want my girl Siri back 🙁

  • You

    Yes! It would be cool
    To change Siris voice rather than the 3 currents