March 26, 2014
Scientists Decipher Which Male Dance Moves Win Over The Ladies
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Scientists have deciphered a code like no other, helping men understand just what a lady wants on the dance floor.
Charles Darwin first proposed back in 1859 that certain male traits evolved due to sexual selection. Since then, scientists have theorized that females evaluate males largely on the quality of their movements, particularly if those movements contain a certain element of skill.
Researchers from Northumbria University and the University of Gottingen set out to understand just what kind of dance moves a guy needs to perform in order to attract a mate. The team set up an experiment that involved 19 men who were asked to dance to a core drum beat for 30 seconds. Dancers were given no specific instructions on how to dance beforehand, and their movements were recorded through Autodesk MotionBuilder.
“By using cutting-edge motion-capture technology, we have been able to precisely break down and analyze specific motion patterns in male dancing that seem to influence women’s perceptions of dance quality,” the researchers wrote in a paper published in Biology Letters.
The scientists put the dance moves in avatar form and then created 15 second video clips, which were rated by 39 females for dance quality. The avatars chosen were featureless and gender-neutral.
According to the study, the best way to move your body while dancing would be by focusing on the central body region, including neck bobbing, forward and backward bending and sideways bending.
“We found significant positive 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),” the team wrote.
They also found a positive relationship between speed of the legs and dance ratings, including knee bending and twisting.
A “good” dancer shows off larger and more variable movements in relation to bending and twisting their head, neck and torso and faster bending and twisting movements of their right knee.
“Our data indicate that in humans, certain aspects of movement amplitude, speed and variability are also important for female perceptions of male dancing ability,” the researchers said. "We suggest that human male movements could also form honest signals of traits such as health, fitness, genetic quality and developmental history, though this remains to be confirmed.”