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Dernière mise à jour : 15/03/2023     

Katarzyna PISANSKI


 +33 07 68 42 10 23


Equipes : DENDY  DiLiS 

  Formation et parcours professionnel
  Distinctions ou Financements
  Principales publications et conférences

My research focuses on understanding the origins, development, mechanisms and functions of acoustic communication in mammals, including our own species. What do our voices say about us, from our physical appearance to our emotional state? Are human nonverbal vocalisations such as cries, moans and screams, homologues to those of other animals with whom we share ancestral links? How did we humans evolve the capacity to so easily modulate our voices, ultimately allowing us to speak? What is the role of sensory experience in nonverbal vocal production and perception, and how does culture shape our vocal behaviour? In what ways do our voices influence real-life outcomes, from mating success to our success in the job market?

To answer these diverse yet inter-related questions, my research integrates tools across equally diverse disciplines including biology (anatomical and neural mechanisms of vocal production and perception, phylogenetic modelling), ethology (animal behaviour, bioacoustics), psychology (speech development, pathologies, linguistics, voice perception), acoustics (acoustic analysis and re-synthesis, psychoacoustics), and anthropology (cross-cultural studies). Despite focusing on humans, my research is fundamentally comparative at its theoretical and methodological core, because comparisons across species and human cultures bring us closer to answering one of the hardest questions in science : what makes us human?


  • Over 75 published peer-reviewed research articles and chapters (half first or last authored) published in top-tier general science, psychology, acoustics and biology journals including Nature (Top 0.01% of all research outputs, Altmeric score >2200), Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Nature Communications, Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Biology Letters, Animal Behaviour, Psychological Science and Hormones & Behavior
  • Over 3400 citations (h-index 30)
  • Nearly 1 million EUR in independent research funding from external grants and fellowships within 6 years of PhD, including from major funders: European Commission (EU), French National Research Agency (ANR), SSHRC (Canada), NCN and MNiSW (Poland), plus numerous internal grants
  • Research regularly featured in media: The Scientist, Time, Science, New York Times, The New Yorker, and Psychology Today magazines, plus various TV and radio outlets (e.g., BBC, CBC)
  • Over 30 awards including Professor Jan Strzałko Award for a Distinguished Young Scientist (2019), Sussex Spotlight profile (2017), Emerging Researcher Award (2017), WomenSphere Emerging Leader (2014), Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence (2011)
  • Supervised/Co-supervised over 15 graduate students (7 PhD, 2 completed, 2 ongoing, 3 forthcoming 2022), and trained over 30 research assistants
  • Designed and/or taught several upper levels courses (UCLA, University of Sussex, McMaster University)
  • Regular organisation of public outreach events, such as Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (London, 2017), Fête de Science and ENES Symposium (St Etienne, 2018/19/21/22), Psyched with US! (Brighton, 2018),
  • Active member of academic community: including 25 invited talks, former President of Women in Science & Engineering group and Let’s Talk Science; Chair of numerous committees and speaker’s series; Organizer of 13 international and national conferences; Guest Editor for Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society; regular peer reviewer for over 40 journals, Marie-Skłodowska Curie and FNRS grant reviewer



Research Career

  • 2021 - present: CNRS Researcher (Permanent researcher)
    DDL Lab, University of Lyon 2, France (UMR 5596)
  • 2018 - 2021: IdexLYON Postdoctoral Researcher
    ENES Lab: Equipe Neuro-Ethologie Sensorielle (UMR 5292), Jean Monnet University, St-Etienne, France
  • 2016 - 2018: Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Researcher (Marie-Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship & SSHRC Fellowship)
    School of Psychology, University of Sussex, UK
  • 2015 - 2016: Adjunct Faculty
    Institute of Psychology, University of Wrocław, Poland
  • 2014: Lecturer / Visiting Researcher
    UCLA Dept. of Communications & Center for Behavior Evolution and Culture, University of California Los Angeles, USA
  • 2014 & 2015: Visiting Researcher, University of Havana & Cuban Neurosciences Center, Cuba


University Degrees

  • 2014 Doctorate (PhD) in Experimental Psychology, Dept of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Canada. Thesis: Human vocal communication of body size
  • 2010 Masters in Science (M.Sc), Experimental Psychology, Dept of Psychology
    University of Lethbridge, Canada. Thesis: The effects of voice pitch and resonances on assessments of speaker size, masculinity, and attractiveness
  • 2008 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Dept of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
    McMaster University, Canada. Thesis: The effects of mate choice copying on interspecific mating in Drosophila




Select Major Research Grants

  • Principal Co-Investigator (2022-2025)
    The French National Research Agency (ANR) PRC Research Grant, France
    Project title: Do opposites attract? Verification of partner choice in genetically homogenous populations

  • Principal Investigator (2022-2024)
    80-Prime Grant from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
    Project title: The evolved and social functions of human nonverbal vocalisations: a cross-cultural investigation

  • Principal Investigator (2016-2019)
    Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW) Iuventus Plus Research Grant, Poland
    Project title: Do opposites attract? Verification of partner choice in genetically homogenous populations

  • Principal Investigator (2015-2016)
    National Science Centre (NCN) OPUS7 Research Grant, Poland
    Project title: Human nonverbal vocalisations: The missing link
Independent Research Fellowships
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship, European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014-655859), 2016-18
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Fellowship, 2016-18



      o Science: Your simple throat is the reason you don’t sound like a chimp. 2022.
      o Sapiens: What’s the appeal of deep voices in men? 2022
      o BBC Future: Can you make yourself sound more attractive? 2021.
      o BBC Reel: Do you have the world’s sexiest accent? 2021.
      o National Geographic: Human screams can convey at least six emotions. 2021.
      o The New York Times: Nature’s noisiest liars carry secrets in their calls. 2020.
      o Psychology Today: Deep impact: Asserting authority with a low-pitched voice. 2019.
      o The Times. Seductive women lower the tone to sound out men. 2018.
      o Smithsonian Magazine. It’s true – After giving birth, women’s voices temporarily drop. 2018.
      o The Guardian. Women's voices become temporarily deeper after pregnancy. 2018.
      o The Washington Post: Adele’s voice got lower after childbirth. That’s common but temporary, a new study shows. 2018.
      o Max Planck Institute: Science for Sale: Predatory journals & editorial misconduct. 2018.
      o British Science Festival: It’s now what you say, it’s how you say it – An interview with Kasia Pisanski.
      o The New York Times: A scholarly sting operation shines a light on ‘predatory’ journals. 2017.
      o The New Yorker: “Paging Dr. Fraud”: The fake publishers that ruining science. 2017.
      o Time: Dozens of scientific journals offered her a job. But she didn't exist. 2017.
      o Daily Mail: A tall tale? Blind people can tell how big someone by simply just listening to their VOICE... and it could be an ancient trait. 2016.
      o Daily Mail: How a boy's voice at age seven can tell you what he will sound like as a man. 2016.
      o The Scientist: What’s in a voice? 2016.


Articles de revues

Pisanski, K., Bryant, G., Cornec, C., Anikin, A. & Reby, D., 2022, "Form follows function in human nonverbal vocalisations", Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 34, pp. 303-321


Massenet, M., Anikin, A., Pisanski, K., Reynaud, K., Mathevon, N. & Reby, D., 2022, "Nonlinear vocal phenomena affect human perceptions of distress, size and dominance in puppy whines", Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 0


Groyecka-Bernard, A., Pisanski, K., Frackowiak, T., Kobylarek, A., Kupczyk, P., Oleszkiewicz, A., Sabiniewicz, A., Wróbel, M. & Sorokowski, P., 2022, "Do voice-based judgments of speaker traits differ across speech types?", Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65, pp. 3674-3694


Pisanski, K. & Reby, D., 2021, "Efficacy in deceptive vocal exaggeration of human body size", Nature Communications, 12, pp. 968 (doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21008-7 , Nature Ecology & Evolution: Behind the Paper)


Kleisner, K., Leongómez, J., Pisanski, K., Fiala, V., Cornec, C., Groyecka-Bernard, A., Butovskaya, M., Reby, D., Sorokowski, P. & Mbe Akoko, R., 2021, "Hear me Roar: Communicating strength through aggressive vocalisations in African bushland and urban communities", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 0


Pisanski, K., Groyecka-Bernard, A. & Sorokowski, P., 2021, "Human voice pitch measures are robust across a variety of speech recordings: methodological and theoretical implications", Biology Letters, 17, pp. 202110356


Anikin, A., Pisanski, K., Massenet, M. & Reby, D., 2021, "Harsh is large: nonlinear vocal phenomena lower voice pitch and exaggerate body size", Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 288, pp. 2021087


Walter, K., Conroy-Beam, D., Buss, D., Asao, K., Sorokowska, A., ..., A., Pisanski, K., ..., K. & Zupančič, M., 2021, "Sex differences in human mate preferences vary across sex ratios", Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 288, pp. 20211115


Pisanski, K. & Sorkowski, P., 2020, "Human stress detection: Cortisol levels in stressed speakers predict voice-based judgments of stress", Perception, 50:1


Sorokowski, P., Kulczycki, E., Sorokowska, A. & Pisanski, K., 2017, "Predatory journals recruit fake editor", Nature, 543, pp. 481-483


Pisanski, K., Cartei, V., McGettigan, C., Raine, J. & Reby, D., 2016, "Voice modulation: A window into the origins of human vocal control? ", Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 20:4, pp. 304-318

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