Mat­ing dance

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

MEN who wish to at­tract women on the dance floor would be bet­ter ad­vised to learn a few moves that an­swer the fe­male mat­ing drive rather than bother with the moon­walk.

Psy­chol­o­gists have iden­ti­fied the key male dance move­ments that most arouse fe­male in­ter­est – and all are to do with cen­tral body mo­tions which send out pri­mal sig­nals of health, vigour and strength.

A team led by Nick Neave of Northum­bria Uni­ver­sity in New­cas­tle-upon-Tyne, northeastern Eng­land, filmed 19 men aged 18 to 35 in a lab as they danced to a stan­dard disco beat.

The men, none of whom was a pro­fes­sional dancer, wore re­flec­tive mark­ers that stud­ded their body and were filmed by a bat­tery of 12 3D cam­eras.

The footage was used to cre­ate a danc­ing avatar, or an­i­mated fig­ure, that was face­less and gen­der­less.

Thirty-seven young het­ero­sex­ual women were then shown 15-sec­ond clips of the avatars and were asked to judge which dance move­ments were the most at­trac­tive.

Eight “move­ment vari­ables” emerged which dis­tin­guished the trolls from the Tra­voltas.

“Good” dancers did wider and big­ger move­ments of the head, neck and torso, and did faster bend­ing and twist­ing move­ments of their right knee (greater move­ments of the right knee rather than the left were to be ex­pected, as 80% of the dancers favoured their right leg).

In con­trast, “bad” dancers tended to be stiff and plod – and throw­ing their arms around was no sub­sti­tute for fast, vari­able move­ment of the cen­tral body re­gion.

“Men all over the world will be in­ter­ested to know what moves they can throw to at­tract women,” says Neave.

“We now know which area of the body fe­males are look­ing at when they are mak­ing a judg­ment about male dance at­trac­tive­ness. If a man knows what the key moves are, he can get some train­ing and im­prove his chances of at­tract­ing a fe­male through his dance style.”

The study is pub­lished in Bi­ol­ogy Letters, a jour­nal of the Royal So­ci­ety, which is Bri­tain’s de-facto academy of sci­ence.

Neave says the ex­per­i­ment broke new ground be­cause of the neu­tral­ity of the avatars, which gave no cues to the man’s face or cloth­ing that could sway judg­ment.

The out­come matches pre­vi­ous re­search that shows a pref­er­ence among women for males who are strong and vig­or­ous and skilled in their mo­tor move­ments.

These are all part of a clas­sic mat­ing quest for the “right” ge­netic ma­te­rial, which is why the dance floor mim­ics courtship are­nas among an­i­mals where the male struts his stuff.

“My guess is that there will be wide cul­tural vari­abil­ity about the way peo­ple dance, but the in­ter­est in the core body move­ments will be the same,” says Neave.

“The move­ment of the trunk, the neck and the shoul­ders give out sig­nals of strength, sup­ple­ness and vi­tal­ity.”

Neave says he is ea­ger to do the ex­per­i­ment in re­verse – to cre­ate fe­male danc­ing avatars and get men to judge the per­for­mance.

This ex­per­i­ment would help de­ter­mine how far move­ment de­ter­mines fe­male al­lure in ad­di­tion to body shape, fa­cial looks, eye con­tact and other fac­tors. – AFP

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