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latinagirl56's avatar

Is it true that being monotone is a sign of intelligence?

Asked by latinagirl56 (109 points ) February 12th, 2012

So my friends have told me on more than one occasion that I sound monotone when I speak (these guys aren’t too smart). And another one of my friends told me last night being monotone is a sign of intelligence (this friend I can have pretty intelligent conversations with). I’ve been searching everywhere online and I can’t find a thing about people being monotone and how high their intelligence is. But from what he told me and from what I can remember it’s because there’s a connection in your brain that that doesn’t signal how your voice pitch should be so all that attention goes and supports another part of your brain. So can anyone tell me if this is true or not, because I love learning new things about human anatomy.

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11 Answers

janbb's avatar

Intuitively my answer is no.

lemming's avatar

Actually when I think of the people in my life with monotone voices, they have been intelligent, not necessarily super intelligent, but definitely smart…possibly a little down beat and cynical too, but just a little. There are always exceptions to these trends people pick up on though.

Jeruba's avatar

I wouldn’t think so. I know a lot of pretty intelligent people, and I can’t think of any who speaks in a monotone. (We don’t say that a person is a monotone; the voice is monotonous, or in a monotone.) The only person I can recall who really speaks in a monotone is not an intellectual standout at all.

Some people have very level, calm, or steady voices, but I wouldn’t call them monotonous.

If you want to find out your IQ, I’d suggest a more direct way.

JLeslie's avatar

Never heard of such a thing. I really doubt it. Intelligent people come in all sorts of degrees of shy to outgoing, monotone to very varied tones, and so on. I have never even thought to generalize what intelligent people look like or sound like.

mrrich724's avatar

The thought that comes to my mind has to do with one’s ability to control emotion, and the intelligence that reflects.

A monotone voice during a conversation, debate, or even argument seems (at least to me) to reflect a higher degree of self control and checked emotion, than one that pitches one way or the other.

And I imagine that self control and the ability to check your emotions in a situation that requires logic, would infer intelligence (whether or not it’s true).

gailcalled's avatar

If you tend to speak in a monotone, a competent voice coach can easily teach you how to modulate your voice, vary the pitch and volume in subtle ways and just sound livelier and more interesting in general.

You can be controlled and emotionally in check and still have a modulated voice.

To repeat; “monotone” is not an adjective and should not be used as such; viz: “monotone voice” is incorrect. It is a “monotonous voice,” please, or a voice with no or little inflection.

Speaking in a monotone generally gives the sense of a lack of affect or emotion rather than intellect.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I would think that, no, it’s not an overall indication of intelligence. Maybe someone speaks that way because they’re depressed. Maybe because nothing interests them. Maybe because they’re bored. It could also be argued that passionate tones indicate intelligence because it’s “proof” that, clearly, someone has thought deeply enough about something to warrant such animation. But, I don’t really buy it either way… Not a solid statement that can be easily proven.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Speaking with a lack of prosody(linguistics) or in monotone, is one trait of Asperger’s Syndrome.

So while it’s not necessarily a sign of inteligence it can be a sign of a neuro-atypicality.

linguaphile's avatar

To me, monotone language use signifies a lack of awareness or lack of empathy of how their own language use is perceived and understood by others. Not a very interpersonally intelligent thing, really.

VanessaJohnson's avatar

I wouldn’t say that you’re intelligent or stupid just by the monotone sound of your voice. I think it’s more about the quality of your thoughts and the way you see life and act. It’s not a bad thing, my beloved History teacher was monotone and he was the best teacher ever. Oh, by the way, you could become a teacher? :P

6rant6's avatar

Slingblade. Ya know?

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