Evolutionary biologists at Northumbria University in England and the University of Gottingen in Germany say they’ve got good dancing down to a science.
Using 30 male participants, whose moves were mapped onto a “featureless gender-neutral” animation, researchers asked 37 women to rate their moves on a seven-point scale.
Dancers who made larger movements with varied head, neck, and torso motion were rated higher. Bending and twisting of the legs also received high marks, like the avatar below.
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Women liked plenty of arm movement and lots of right leg movements, but surprisingly, the study showed arm movement didn’t correlate at all with perceived dancing ability.
Dancers who only used their legs and/or small movements were ranked lower, like this dancer:
Evolutionary biologists say dancing may help women pick a mate.
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"Dancing ability, particularly that of men, may serve as a signal of male mate quality ... and thus, affect women's perceptions of men's attractiveness,” researchers wrote. Dancing could represent "honest signals of traits such as health, ﬁtness, genetic quality and developmental history.”