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Male movements serve as courtship signals in many animal species, and may honestly reflect the genotypic and/or phenotypic quality of the individual. Attractive human dance moves, particularly those of males, have been reported to show associations with measures of physical strength, prenatal androgenization and symmetry. Here we use advanced three-dimensional motion-capture technology to identify possible biomechanical differences between women's perceptions of 'good' and 'bad' male dancers. Nineteen males were recorded using the 'Vicon' motion-capture system while dancing to a basic rhythm; controlled stimuli in the form of avatars were then created in the form of 15 s video clips, and rated by 39 females for dance quality. Initial analyses showed that 11 movement variables were significantly positively correlated with perceived dance quality. Linear regression subsequently revealed that three movement measures were key predictors of dance quality; these were variability and amplitude of movements of the neck and trunk, and speed of movements of the right knee. In summary, we have identified specific movements within men's dance that influence women's perceptions of dancing ability. We suggest that such movements may form honest signals of male quality in terms of health, vigour or strength, though this remains to be confirmed.
Evolutionary biology
Male dance moves that
catch a woman’s eye
Nick Neave1,*, Kristofor McCarty1,
Jeanette Freynik2, Nicholas Caplan1,
Johannes Ho
¨nekopp1and Bernhard Fink2
School of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Department of Sociobiology/Anthropology, Institute of Zoology and
Anthropology, University of Go
¨ttingen, Go
¨ttingen, Germany
*Author for correspondence (
Male movements serve as courtship signals in
many animal species, and may honestly reflect
the genotypic and/or phenotypic quality of the
individual. Attractive human dance moves, par-
ticularly those of males, have been reported to
show associations with measures of physical
strength, prenatal androgenization and sym-
metry. Here we use advanced three-dimensional
motion-capture technology to identify possible
biomechanical differences between women’s
perceptions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ male dancers.
Nineteen males were recorded using the ‘Vicon’
motion-capture system while dancing to a basic
rhythm; controlled stimuli in the form of avatars
were then created in the form of 15 s video clips,
and rated by 39 females for dance quality. Initial
analyses showed that 11 movement variables were
significantly positively correlated with perceived
dance quality. Linear regression subsequently
revealed that three movement measures were
key predictors of dance quality; these were varia-
bility and amplitude of movements of the neck
and trunk, and speed of movements of the right
knee. In summary, we have identified specific
movements within men’s dance that influence
women’s perceptions of dancing ability. We
suggest that such movements may form honest
signals of male quality in terms of health,
vigour or strength, though this remains to be
Keywords: movement; courtship signal; dance quality;
In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed that certain male
traits evolved owing to sexual selection via female
mate choice [1]. Since then much emphasis has been
placed on conspicuous male secondary sexual orna-
ments and associations between such ornaments and
female mate preferences [2]. However, such orna-
ments are not present in all mammalian species, and
some authors have suggested that females may evaluate
males largely on the quality of their movements,
especially those movements that contain elements of
vigour and/or skill, because these are most likely to
indicate health and genetic quality [3]. Evidence
from birds, ungulates and crustaceans demonstrates
that females detect subtle variations in male motor per-
formance during ritualized courtship displays, and
base subsequent reproductive decisions upon such
differences [46]. In humans, dance is a set of inten-
tional, rhythmic, culturally influenced, non-verbal
body movements that are considered to be an impor-
tant aspect of sexuality and courtship attraction;
indeed, dancing often forms part of courtship and
marriage celebrations [7,8]. Dancing ability, particu-
larly that of men, may serve as a signal of male mate
quality in terms of physical strength [9], prenatal
androgenization [10] and symmetry [11], and thus
affect women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness
(for review see Hugill et al.[12]).
Identifying the characteristics of attractive dance in
natural settings is difficult because of the confounding
effects of facial attractiveness [13], height [14], cloth-
ing and socioeconomic status [15], dominance [16],
body morphology and shape [17]. Previous studies
assessing women’s perceptions of male dancing ability
have attempted to control for these factors using
blurred video clips [9,18] or simple motion-capture
avatars [11]. Here, we improve this methodology
further using more realistic three-dimensional avatars
from which precise biomechanical measurements can
be extracted. To our knowledge, no previous studies
have actually identified specific movement components
within a dance that may influence perceived dance
quality, a gap we aimed to fill in our study. Males
danced for 30 s to the same basic drum rhythm and
their movements were mapped onto computer-generated
avatars, which females rated for dance quality.
Biomechanical analysis allowed the amplitude, speed,
duration and variability of body movements to be calcu-
lated. Analysis was concentrated on three body regions:
legs (ankle, hip and knee), arms (shoulder, elbow and
wrist) and the central body (neck and trunk).
An initial sample of 30 men aged 18 –35 (mean ¼22.72, s.d. ¼4.37)
took part in the investigation, none of whom were professional dan-
cers, or had any physical injuries or current health problems which
could have affected their movements. Body height and mass were
measured, in addition elbow, ankle and wrist widths were measured,
as well as leg lengths in order to accurately calculate angle data in
Vicon Workstation.
A 12-camera optical motion-capture system (Vicon 612, Vicon,
Oxford) was used, running Vicon workstation v.4.6 software. Each
camera captured at a constant rate of 100 Hz. Thirty-eight 14 mm
reflective markers were attached to each participant in accordance
with the Vicon Plug-In-Gait marker set to capture all the major struc-
tures of the body. Participants were requested to perform one static
drum beat to eliminate music likeability as a possible confound. Partici-
pants were not given any prior instruction on how they should dance.
For avatar construction, it is vital that all the markers should be
recognized, and that all optical data are complete and does not con-
tain any gaps. Often, the reflective markers become detached, or are
occluded by arm movements. If this occurs to any marker during a
trial, the necessary joint angles cannot be calculated. Eleven partici-
pants were thus excluded from the study owing to incomplete marker
capture, leaving 19 male dancers. Their motion-capture data were
used to animate a virtual character (an avatar), using Autodesk
MotionBuilder, 2010. The avatar chosen was a featureless, gender-
neutral humanoid character that was included in the software
package in order to put maximum emphasis on the biological
movement (figure 1).
Using these avatars, 37 heterosexual women aged 18– 35
(mean ¼22.30, s.d. ¼6.22) rated dance quality for all 19 male
dancers in a serial, randomized order based on a 15 s episode
(middle section of each dance) shown in an 800 600 pixel
window centred on a 15.4 inch laptop screen (1440 900 pixel
Electronic supplementary material is available at
10.1098/rsbl.2010.0619 or via http://
Biol. Lett.
Published online
Received 7 July 2010
Accepted 18 August 2010 This journal is q2010 The Royal Society
resolution) using MEDIALAB v. 1.33 (Empirisoft Inc., New York, NY,
USA). The core audio track was not presented to raters. Immediately
after each presentation of a dancer, participants made a judgement of
dance quality on a seven-point Likert-type scale (from 1 ¼extremely
bad dancer to 7 ¼extremely good dancer). After each rating, the
participant was prompted to move on to the next rating segment. Sub-
sequent analyses were based on mean ratings (M¼3.7, s.d. ¼0.8,
A kinematic model (Plug-In-Gait, Vicon, Oxford) was used to
generate three-dimensional joint angles for the knees, hips, trunk,
neck, shoulders and wrists. Ankle angle was calculated in two dimen-
sions (flexion/extension and internal/external rotation) and for the
elbow in one dimension (flexion/extension). Each joint angle was fil-
tered using a second-order Butterworth low-pass filter with a cut-off
frequency of 10 Hz. Simple visual inspection of the angles showed
that they fluctuated in magnitude in a series of unidirectional move-
ments. The amplitude and duration of each unidirectional movement
were calculated as the angular displacement and time, respectively,
between successive reversals in direction. The mean speed of each
angular movement between direction reversals was calculated as
the amplitude divided by the duration. The change in the magnitude
of each joint angle from the mean joint position for the entire trial
(angular offset) was determined at each movement reversal. Move-
ment variability was then calculated as the standard deviation of all
angular offsets for each joint angle. Because of the large number of
joint angles produced (n¼38), movement amplitude, duration,
speed and variability were each grouped by body region, after ensur-
ing that the variance in variables within each body segment was
similar. Three body regions were generated, including the legs
(ankles, knees and hips), arms (shoulders, elbows and wrists) and
central body (trunk and neck).
Kolmogorov– Smirnov tests were used to check for
normal distribution of each movement variable both
for combined body regions and their constituent
parts. For variables with normal distribution, two-
tailed Pearson productmoment correlations were
performed between mean ratings of dance quality
and each of the three body regions for movement
amplitude, movement variability, movement speed
and movement duration. For variables that were not
normally distributed, Spearman’s rank correlations
were used. If a significant correlation was found for
any one body region, a further correlation was per-
formed between ratings of dance quality and the
constituent parts of that body region. A 95 per cent
confidence level was used throughout. A summary of
the significant correlations is presented in table 1.
For movement amplitude, all variables were nor-
mally distributed. We found significant positive
correlations between dance ratings and the central
body region. Key components comprised of: neck flex-
ion/extension (head nodding), trunk flexion/extension
(forward/backward bending) and trunk abduction/
adduction (sideways bending).
For movement variability, all three body regions
were normally distributed, although seven of their 38
constituent parts were not. We found significant posi-
tive correlations between dance ratings and central
body region variability with all components being
important, these were: neck flexion/extension; neck
abduction/adduction (head sideways tilting); neck
internal/external rotation (head shaking); trunk flex-
ion/extension; trunk adduction/abduction; and trunk
internal/external rotation (twisting).
Finally, for movement speed, all data were normally
distributed. We found a significant positive relationship
between speed of the legs and dance ratings, the rel-
evant components being speed of right knee flexion/
extension (bending) and speed of right knee internal/
external rotation (twisting).
When the significant constituent parts were fed into
a stepwise linear regression to predict dance ratings,
neck internal/external rotation variability (
trunk adduction/abduction variability (
and right knee internal/external rotation speed (
0.38) contributed to the final model (F
p,0.001), which accounted for 79 per cent of the
variance in the mean dance ratings.
By using cutting-edge motion-capture technology, we
have been able to precisely break down and analyse
specific motion patterns in male dancing that seem to
influence women’s perceptions of dance quality. We
find that the variability and amplitude of movements
in the central body regions (head, neck and trunk)
and speed of the right knee movements are especially
important in signalling dance quality. A ‘good’ dancer
thus displays larger and more variable movements in
relation to bending and twisting movements of their
head/neck and torso, and faster bending and twisting
movements of their right knee. As 80 per cent of indi-
viduals are right-footed [19], greater movements of
the right knee in comparison with the left are perhaps
to be expected. In comparative research, there is exten-
sive literature on the signalling capacities of movement
(see Byers et al.[3]). Researchers have suggested that
females prefer vigorous and skilled males; such cues
are derived from male motor performance that provides
a signal of his physical condition [36].
Our data indicate that in humans, certain aspects of
movement amplitude, speed and variability are also
important for female perceptions of male dancing abil-
ity. We suggest that human male movements could also
form honest signals of traits such as health, fitness,
genetic quality and developmental history [912],
though this remains to be confirmed. By uncovering
some specific movement parameters used in the assess-
ments of dance quality, we are now in a much stronger
position to further research the possible signalling
(a) (b)
Figure 1. Examples of an avatar created for the rating pur-
poses. (a) Static pose, while (b) shows an avatar ‘dancing’.
2N.Neaveet al. Perception of male dance
Biol. Lett.
mechanisms of dance in humans. Future studies
should systematically manipulate the dance moves
that we have identified as being most important, and
assess the effects of such manipulations on female
perceptions of dance quality.
We thank Alistair Ewen for his assistance in operating the
Vicon system and three anonymous reviewers for their
helpful comments. This research was supported by the
German Research Foundation (DFG). B.F. is currently
funded by an Emmy-Noether Fellowship of the DFG.
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Table 1. Correlations between movement variables and ratings of dance quality. Correlations for sub-components are
presented only when the principal component was significantly correlated with dance rating.
movement amplitude movement variability movement speed
arms r ¼0.45; p¼0.051 r¼0.44; p¼0.057 r¼0.34; p¼0.153
right shoulder flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
right shoulder abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. n.a.
right shoulder internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. n.a.
right elbow flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
right wrist flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
right wrist abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. n.a.
right wrist internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. n.a.
left shoulder flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
left shoulder abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. n.a.
left shoulder internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. n.a.
left elbow flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
left wrist flexion/extension n.a. n.a. n.a.
left wrist abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. n.a.
left wrist internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. n.a.
central body r ¼0.55
;p,0.05 r¼0.81
;p,0.001 r¼0.41; p¼0.082
neck flexion/extension r¼0.47
;p,0.05 r¼0.68
;p,0.01 n.a.
neck abduction/adduction r¼0.30; p¼0.219 r¼0.66
;p,0.05 n.a.
neck internal/external rotation r¼0.38; p¼0.113 r¼0.73
;p,0.001 n.a.
trunk flexion/extension r¼0.67
;p,0.01 r¼0.68
;p,0.01 n.a.
trunk abduction/adduction r¼0.48
;p,0.05 r¼0.68
;p,0.01 n.a.
trunk internal/external rotation r¼0.08; p¼0.734 r¼0.51
;p,0.05 n.a.
legs r ¼0.24; p¼0.332 r¼0.23; p¼0.334 r¼0.47
right hip flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼0.21; p¼0.393
right hip abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. r¼0.02; p¼0.925
right hip internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼0.23; p¼0.337
right knee flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼0.52
right knee abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. r¼0.24; p¼0.317
right knee internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼0.70
right ankle flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼0.40; p¼0.100
right ankle internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼0.24; p¼0.329
left hip flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼20.01; p¼0.963
left hip abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. r¼0.02; p¼0.944
left hip internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼0.31; p¼0.200
left knee flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼0.31; p¼0.193
left knee abduction/adduction n.a. n.a. r¼20.03; p¼0.901
left knee internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼0.34; p¼0.160
left ankle flexion/extension n.a. n.a. r¼20.04; p¼0.886
left ankle internal/external rotation n.a. n.a. r¼20.11; p¼0.646
Denotes significant correlations.
Indicates a correlation where the movement variable was not normally distributed.
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4N.Neaveet al. Perception of male dance
Biol. Lett.
... Therefore, the investigation of universalities in the social significance of dance movements should consider body kinematics in addition to documentation of cultural diversity in dance performance. This approach may reveal similarities in movement quality across societies and cultures and, from a comparative perspective, across taxa (e.g., the rhythmic display of vigor and strength; Lorenz, 1952;Grammer, Keki, Striebel, Atzmueller, & Fink, 2003;Neave et al., 2011). ...
... Whether from the perspective of the dancer this is intentional is less clear. Observers are sensitive to variation as they distinguish "good" from "bad" dancers (e.g., Neave et al., 2011) or express a preference for dancers that signal superior reproductive quality (e.g., Fink et al., 2012;Miller et al., 2007). We do not know whether good dance performance correlates with higher reproductive success. ...
Dance is ubiquitous among humans and has received attention from several disciplines. Ethnographic documentation suggests that dance has a signaling function in social interaction. It can influence mate preferences and facilitate social bonds. Research has provided insights into the proximate mechanisms of dance, individually or when dancing with partners or in groups. Here, we review dance research from an evolutionary perspective. We propose that human dance evolved from ordinary (non-communicative) movements to communicate socially relevant information accurately. The need for accurate social signaling may have accompanied increases in group size and population density. Because of its complexity in production and display, dance may have evolved as a vehicle for expressing social and cultural information. Mating-related qualities and motives may have been the predominant information derived from individual dance movements, whereas group dance offers the opportunity for the exchange of socially relevant content, for coordinating actions among group members, for signaling coalitional strength, and for stabilizing group structures. We conclude that, despite the cultural diversity in dance movements and contexts, the primary communicative functions of dance may be the same across societies.
... This has only been proposed from the aspects of physical and psychological consideration, ignoring the damage caused to the lower extremity of dancers, especially female dancers due to the footwear used. It is worth mentioning that the biological structure of the human body, as opposed to a rigid body, allows the production of strength through muscle contraction [30], in dance, both the amplitude and speed of movement are positively related to the aesthetic experience of audiences [31][32][33]. The degrees of freedom of the lower limbs are also increased which increases the risk of injury [34]. ...
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... Only a few works in the dance research community have identified qualitative factors for professional dances. For example, Neave et al. [13] and Torrents et al. [14] have reported their qualitative experiments that, kinematic parameters related to the amplitude of movement have high associations to the perception of dance beautification and aesthetics, while Park [15] investigated the correlation between dance professionalism and motion smoothness (measured in jerk-based quantitative measures). However, no explicit quantitative metrics have been proposed so far to completely evaluate dance professionalism. ...
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... Understanding others' actions depends on the observer's individual characteristics and sensorimotor experience, and only years of sports training can predict perceptual identification accuracy (Sevdalis & Raab, 2016). Some judges may evaluate artistry through cognitive judgement or affective appreciation of choreography movements, while others may include their own familiarity and physical abilities in their aesthetic appreciation (Leder et al., 2004;Neave et al., 2011;Torrents et al., 2013). This suggests that cognitive judgements are related to motor, visual, and judging experience and that judges should either specialise early in officiating, or gather visuo-motor experience as an athlete or spectator first, and then switch roles to become a sports official (Heinen et al., 2012;Pizzera et al., 2018;Pizzera & Raab, 2012). ...
... This is consistent with data showing that women rate as more attractive taller and more muscular men (Mautz et al., 2013) and that body composition in men is not related to sperm motility, an indicator of male fertility (Fejes et al., 2005), but rather with physical strength (Windhager et al., 2011). Further, women seem to infer the health and strength quality of a man via active displays of the body, such as in dance (Hugill et al., 2009(Hugill et al., , 2010Neave et al., 2011), which can be viewed as an important part of male courtship (Sheets-Johnstone, 2005). This is in keeping with the special role of body movements in communicating men's formidability (i.e., fighting ability and resource-holding potential). ...
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The human body conveys socially relevant information, including a person’s gender. Several studies have shown that both shape and motion inform gender judgments of bodies. However, while body shape seems to influence more the judgment of female bodies, body motion seems to play a major role in the judgments of male bodies. Yet, the interdependence of morphologic and dynamic cues in shaping gender judgment and attractiveness evaluation in body perception is still unclear. In two experiments, we investigated how variations of implied motion and shape interact in perceptual and affective judgments of female and male bodies. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to provide ratings for masculinity and femininity of virtual renderings of human bodies with variable gender-typing features and implied motion. We found evidence of a tendency to perceive bodies in static poses as more feminine and bodies in dynamic poses as more masculine. In Experiment 2, participants rated the same pictures for dynamism and pleasantness. We found that male bodies were judged more dynamic than female bodies with the same pose. Also, female bodies were liked more in static than in dynamic poses. A mediation analysis allowed us to further shed light on the relationship between gender-typing features and motion, suggesting that the less is the movement conveyed by a female body, the greater is an observer’s sensitivity to its femininity, and this leads to a more positive evaluation of its pleasantness. Our findings hint to an association between stillness and femininity in body perception, which can stem from either the evolutionary meaning of sexual selection and/or the influence of cultural norms.
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In mammals, trait variation is often reported to be greater among males than females. However, to date, mainly only morphological traits have been studied. Energy expenditure represents the metabolic costs of multiple physical, physiological, and behavioral traits. Energy expenditure could exhibit particularly high greater male variation through a cumulative effect if those traits mostly exhibit greater male variation, or a lack of greater male variation if many of them do not. Sex differences in energy expenditure variation have been little explored. We analyzed a large database on energy expenditure in adult humans (1494 males and 3108 females) to investigate whether humans have evolved sex differences in the degree of interindividual variation in energy expenditure. We found that, even when statistically comparing males and females of the same age, height, and body composition, there is much more variation in total, activity, and basal energy expenditure among males. However, with aging, variation in total energy expenditure decreases, and because this happens more rapidly in males, the magnitude of greater male variation, though still large, is attenuated in older age groups. Considerably greater male variation in both total and activity energy expenditure could be explained by greater male variation in levels of daily activity. The considerably greater male variation in basal energy expenditure is remarkable and may be explained, at least in part, by greater male variation in the size of energy-demanding organs. If energy expenditure is a trait that is of indirect interest to females when choosing a sexual partner, this would suggest that energy expenditure is under sexual selection. However, we present a novel energetics model demonstrating that it is also possible that females have been under stabilizing selection pressure for an intermediate basal energy expenditure to maximize energy available for reproduction.
This Chapter “Models of rational love” presents realistic and pragmatic models of love, which are opposites of romantic models. They have been common in real life of people throughout centuries. The modern scholarship has elaborated several specific rational models, which consider love in light of such characteristics as investment, social, and economic exchange. The communal and equitable models of love are juxtaposed here—they are rational, yet different from others in the group. This chapter also describes such psychologically disengaged love, which can be labeled as role-play, gamified, and ludus models of love. They came under the umbrella term of performing models because they are the exhibiting and demonstrative ways of love, rather than really experiencing ones. Their joy is the joy of an actor and gambler.KeywordsRational loveRealistic lovePragmatic loveIdeal loveChoice in loveIdealistic perception in loveRealistic perception in loveLove as actionLove through doingLove as exchangeMobility in loveLove as investmentEmotional investment in loveCommunal loveEquitable loveEquity in loveEquality in loveLove as a playLove as a gameLove as performanceFlirting in lovePlayful loveMating gameSexual gameRelationship gameLudus loveLove as manipulationLove as conquering
Whenever resources are limited and indivisible, fighting will evolve as a means to resolve ownership. Among such resources are mates, and individuals (usually males) of many species compete agonistically with rivals in order to gain access to potential mates. However, securing access is not necessarily enough to guarantee a mating or, if a mating is obtained, to guarantee that it is effective for securing reproductive success. Thus, in addition to fighting, individuals participate in a wealth of behaviours to maximize their reproductive success, from courtship to sperm competition to mate guarding. In recent years, the striking parallels between fighting and mating behaviour have become a subject of discussion. In particular, insights have been drawn from the predictions of contest theory to help us understand the use of repetitive signalling in courtship. Here, we take this discussion further, highlighting similarities between fighting and mating in the use of dynamic repeated behaviours, which function to (1) advertise quality and (2) convince or coerce an individual to relinquish the contested resource (gametes in terms of mating). We focus specifically on a performance trait of emerging interest in the field of animal contests, skill. We identify behaviours used throughout the mating process in which skill is likely to be of importance for securing success, and highlight key questions for future study.
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Research on attractiveness assessments of men’s dance has shown that raters derive and integrate information about male mating-related qualities into their attractiveness assessments, but prior studies have focused on lay assessors (i.e., individuals with no professional dance background) rather than dance experts. We recruited male and female Russian dance experts ( n = 23) to judge gender-neutral, featureless virtual characters, animated with motion-captured dance movements and gaits of British men, and compared their dance assessments to those from a group of Russian male and female lay assessors ( n = 73). The dance experts provided higher dance and gait attractiveness judgments than the lay assessors. Both groups judged the gait movements to be of higher attractiveness than the dance movements. Differences in attractiveness assessments between experts and lay assessors were larger for the male judges than for the female judges. In an additional survey, the dance experts (versus lay assessors) placed greater emphasis on the importance of dance-related capacities and skills. We discuss our findings with reference to past research on dance/gait attractiveness as assessed by lay judges and the role of expertise in assessing body movement.
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Sexual selection is a well established evolutionary process based on preferences for specific traits in one sex by members of the other sex. It is important in the evolution of morphological traits, and several sexually dimorphic traits in humans, such as facial hair and facial shape1, are assumed to be the outcome of such a process. Here we demonstrate that taller men are reproductively more successful than shorter men, indicating that there is active selection for stature in male partners by women.
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Four experiments examined the relation between behavioral expressions of dominance and the heterosexual attractiveness of males and females. Predictions concerning the relation between dominance and heterosexual attraction were derived from a consideration of sex role norms and from the comparative biological literature. All four experiments indicated an interaction between dominance and sex of target. Dominance behavior increased the attractiveness of males, but had no effect on the attractiveness of females. The third study indicated that the effect did not depend on the sex of the rater or on the sex of those with whom the dominant target interacted. The fourth study showed that the effect was specific to dominance as an independent variable and did not occur for related constructs (aggressive or domineering). This study also found that manipulated dominance enhanced only a male's sexual attractiveness and not his general likability. The results were discussed in terms of potential biological and cultural causal mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The fiddler crab Uca perplexa has a conspicuous male courtship signal that is directed at females to attract them to the male’s burrow for mating. The signal involves waving the unflexed large claw up and down. To determine whether the spatiotemporal structure of the wave is under selection by female choice, we examined whether females had a preference for any particular features of the wave. Females respond to a waving display by either visiting the male’s burrow entrance or by electing to pass without visiting the burrow. We filmed mate-searching females and the waving males that they visited or passed. We documented the wave structure of these males using frame-by-frame analysis. Males produce a two-part wave with component A preceding component B. Both components have an upstroke, a pause at the apex and a downstroke. The tip of the claw was raised much higher in B than in A. Visited males had a shorter delay between the two wave components than did males that the females passed without visiting. Visited males also produced component B waves that had a slower upstroke than those of passed males. There was a significant correlation between the relative height of the raised claw and the duration of the upstroke of component B. Females were selecting males that raised their major claw to the highest position (two to three times as high as the carapace width). Passed males brought down their major claw earlier and from a lower position than did visited males. The data suggests that wave structure has evolved through female choice. Male display rate and body size were not female choice cues. An earlier study showed that display duration was also not used by females in selecting mates.
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It is common scientific knowledge, that most of what we say within a conversation is not only expressed by the words' meaning alone, but also through our gestures, postures, and body movements. This non-verbal mode is possibly rooted firmly in our human evolutionary heritage, and as such, some scientists argue that it serves as a fundamental assessment and expression tool for our inner qualities. Studies of nonverbal communication have established that a universal, culture-free, non-verbal sign system exists, that is available to all individuals for negotiating social encounters. Thus, it is not only the kind of gestures and expressions humans use in social communication, but also the way these movements are performed, as this seems to convey key information about an individual's quality. Dance, for example, is a special form of movement, which can be observed in human courtship displays. Recent research suggests that people are sensitive to the variation in dance movements, and that dance performance provides information about an individual's mate quality in terms of health and strength. This article reviews the role of body movement in human non-verbal communication, and highlights its significance in human mate preferences in order to promote future work in this research area within the evolutionary psychology framework.
Recent research has revealed that variation in human dancing ability is related to levels of fluctuating asymmetry, and that women rate symmetrical male dancers more positively. We measured the lengths of the 2nd (index) and 4th (ring) finger in a sample of young men and recorded short digital video clips of their dance movements. A panel of 104 female judges rated 12 clips of men with the lowest and highest finger-length ratios (2D:4D) for attractiveness, dominance, and masculinity. We found that dances by men with low (masculinised) 2D:4D ratios were rated significantly higher on attractiveness, dominance, and masculinity than dancers with high (feminised) 2D:4D. There were no significant differences between the two groups of dancers for age and other physical measures such as waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body-mass-index (BMI). Since there is evidence that finger-length ratios negatively correlate with testosterone exposure in utero, male dancing abilities may be organized early during development. Moreover, women’s ability to perceive differences in dance movement of men with low and high 2D:4D may indicate that dance provides some cues to phenotypic condition, relevant for sexual selection.
Abstract. At the National Bison Range (western Montana, U.S.A.) mate choice by female pronghorn, Antilocapra americana, is clearly observable. Females move independently, and copulate once per oestrus. Males cannot force copulation, only temporarily block female movement, and do not monopolize resources critical to females. Females practice three distinct strategies of mate choice. 'Sampling' females visit several harem-holding males, remain with each male a short time, and switch between males at an increased rate as oestrus approaches. Switches often appear to be energetically expensive. The actual mating visit is brief, about 1·5 days. Sampling females always leave males that fail to defend an adequate zone of tranquillity around the harem, but also leave males when there is no apparent cause. The majority (71%) of exits from males are of the latter type. Most sampling females return to and mate with a male that they visited within the week before oestrus. 'Inciting' females behave as samplers unti
In this paper, we describe a methodological alternative to the point-light display for the study of the impact of human movement on social perception. This quantization technique involves degrading standard videotapes via a special effects generator at the time of editing. As is the case with a point-light display, quantization disguises structural characteristics of videotaped stimulus persons, and highlights their patterns of movement. Because quantization requires no special procedures during videotaping, it is unobtrusive, and helps maintain the ecological validity of the original stimulus. We offer empirical support from two studies for our proposal that dynamic quantization is a valuable methodological approach to the study of nonverbal behavior.
Prenatal and/or pubertal testosterone (T) directly influences male physical characteristics and behaviors that facilitate the achievement and maintenance of status and resources. In numerous animal species there is evidence that females have evolved preferences for signals of a male's status as such signals may indicate male quality (in terms of health and reproductive success). In humans, it is known that women judge sex-typical (T-linked) physical characteristics of the face and body of men higher on attractiveness, masculinity, and dominance. Moreover, recent research indicates that women are also able to evaluate certain male facial characteristics that signal physical strength. Here we show that women's perception of the attractiveness and assertiveness of men's dancing, correlates with male handgrip strength (as a measure of muscular strength) after controlling for body weight. We conclude that men's dances - in addition to faces and bodies - may be another proxy for male competitiveness, and could thus be used by women to evaluate male quality.