Differences in perceived loudness between men and women: A cross-cultural comparison among Japanese, Chinese, and Malaysians



Previously, we investigated gender difference in loudness perception among Japanese and Chinese. Among Chinese, female participants tended to assigned higher loudness scores than did males for the same sound. That difference was also evident when a ratio scale, such as magnitude estimation, was used to evaluate loudness. However, among Japanese, that difference was not clearly observed when the ratio scale was applied. To examine factors affecting gender differences in loudness perception, we conducted the same rating experiments among Malaysian males and females. We found that a rating experiment using the verbal interval scale showed that the female Malaysian participants tended to rate the same sounds as louder than did males. In one test, we measured the limit of sound pressure level that would be perceived as soft or as loud: we observed the above gender differences with the lowest limit of loud sound. However, that gender difference did not emerge in the rating experiments using the ratio scale. The tendency we recorded among Malaysians was the same as Japanese. Thus, differences in judging loudness between males and females may actually reflect differences in the use of verbal expressions rather than differences in perception.