Readers might recall two of my earlier posts in which I addressed men’s dancing ability and women’s gait attractiveness from an evolutionary perspective. In the former post, I reviewed two studies that found links between men’s dancing abilities and their digit ratios and body symmetry respectively while in the latter post I described a study that established a link between a woman’s gait attractiveness (as judged by men) and her menstrual cycle. To my surprise, the researchers in question had found that women’s gaits were judged as more attractive during the luteal (non-fertile) phase.
In today’s post, I cover a forthcoming article in Personality and Individual Differences authored by Bernhard Fink, Nadine Hugill, and Benjamin P. Lange in which they investigated men’s perceptions of women’s dancing and gait attractiveness as a function of when the movements were captured (fertile versus non-fertile phase of the menstrual cycle). Forty-eight women were recorded engaging in both behaviors (at the two stages of their menstrual cycles) using a standardized protocol that removed all extraneous factors (e.g., video clips were transformed into traced silhouettes). Subsequently, two hundred men rated the women’s dancing and gait attractiveness on a 1-7 scale (one hundred men per movement type) without knowing the menstrual status of the women in question.
Key findings: Both the dancing and gait attractiveness scores were statistically higher in the fertile phase. In other words, women seem to engage in various forms of alluring movements when in the maximally fertile phase of their cycles, and men are adept at picking up these cues. Nicolas Guéguen obtained similar findings in a 2012 article published in Gait & Posture. So much for cryptic ovulation!
Incidentally, the latter findings help explain the main result of a 2007 article published in Evolution and Human Behavior and authored by Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, and Brent D. Jordan: Female exotic dancers garnered larger tips when maximally fertile. Now we know why: They gesticulate more sexily when ovulating and this opens up men’s wallets! I’d love to hear how social constructivists (i.e., social scientists who tend to scorn biological-based explanations of human behavior) might explain these findings.
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