"... while phrases matched for meaning, like 'The singer had a pleasing voice' and 'He had strong hands,' did not."
Whip out your metaphors, guys. Science says it's thoroughly arousing, according to this second-most-emailed article in the New York Times. First-most is "Why Bilinguals Are Smarter." You see what's going on? The kind of NYT readers who email articles are entranced by brain science reports that stoke their vanity. Hey, girlfriends, see how smart I am? I loved studying French in college and I am always reading novels. Science says!
Bleh. If you were so smart, you wouldn't be emailing stuff through the NYT at this late date in the history of the computer. These are such stock NYT articles, appealing to the vanity of affluent, college-educated women. I don't for one minute believe these people care about science. I don't think they care about how the brain really works, that they'd read about the elaborate chemistry of the brain or anything like that. They just love the reports that back them up, that compliment them, telling them they must be smart because of some dumb thing that was always true of them — reading stories, playing with language, finding NYT articles that allow them to subtly preen to their friends via email.