Following is the full transcript of voice expert Rébecca Kleinberger’s presentation talk: Why You Don’t Like the Sound of Your Own Voice at TED Talk conference.
Rébecca Kleinberger – Voice expert
If you ask evolutionary biologists when did humans become humans, some of them will say that, well, at some point we started standing on our feet, became biped and became the masters of our environment. Others will say that because our brain started growing much bigger, that we were able to have much more complex cognitive processes. And others might argue that it’s because we developed language that allowed us to evolve as a species.
Descent of the larynx
Interestingly, those three phenomena are all connected. We are not sure how or in which order, but they are all linked with the change of shape of a little bone in the back of your neck that changed the angle between our head and our body. That means we were able to stand upright but also for our brain to evolve in the back and for our voice box to grow from seven centimeters for primates to 11 and up to 17 centimeters for humans. And this is called the descent of the larynx.
And the larynx is the site of your voice. When baby humans are born today, their larynx is not descended yet. That only happens at about three months old. So, metaphorically, each of us here has relived the evolution of our whole species.