In addition to conveying primary information, human speech also conveys information concerning the speaker's gender, age, socioeconomic status, accent, language spoken, emotional state, or other personal characteristics, which is referred to as secondary information. Disclosed herein are both the means of automatic discovery and use of such secondary information to direct other aspects of the behavior of a controlled system. One embodiment of the invention comprises an improved method to determine, with high reliability, the gender of an adult speaker. A further embodiment of the invention comprises the use of this information to display a gender-appropriate advertisement to the user of an information retrieval system that uses a cell phone as the input and output device. The invention is not limited to gender and such secondary information can include, for example, any of information concerning the speaker's age, socioeconomic status, accent, language spoken, emotional state, or other personal characteristics.