How signals work on the dance floor

Here is some new research:

The results showed that women gave the highest attractiveness ratings to men with the highest levels of prenatal testosterone. The men with the lowest testosterone in turn got the lowest attractiveness ratings. "Men can communicate their testosterone levels through the way they dance," Lovatt told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "And women understand it — without noticing it."

In women, the link between dancing style and testosterone levels were similar — but the reaction of men was just the opposite. Dancers with high levels of testosterone moved more parts of their body, with their movements being somewhat uncoordinated, while those with lower testosterone made more subtle movements, especially with their hips. The male students found the latter style most appealing…

The men who got the female students hot under the collar danced with large movements which were "complexly coordinated." But it's a fine line between hot and not, however: Those men who made big moves but who were less coordinated came across as dominant alpha males — and were unlikely to win women's hearts. The researchers also found that the size and complexity of the dance moves decreased in parallel with testosterone levels.

The full story is here and the article is interesting throughout.  This bit on the researcher caught my eye:

Lovatt knows his subject matter well — he himself was a professional dancer until the age of 26. He performed in musicals in large venues around England and also worked on cruise ships. The thought of an academic career barely entered his head at the time. He wasn't even able to read until he was 23, having left school without any qualifications. When he looked at a page in a book, "all I saw was a big black block."


The study looks at the amount of testosterone people encountered in the womb.

The researcher then says: "Men can communicate their testosterone levels through the way they dance"

So, bald men must be more appealing?

The tremble dance is a behavior sometimes performed by honeybee foragers returning to the hive. The biological significance of this behavior was unclear until Seeley demonstrated that tremble dances occur mainly when a colony's nectar influx is so high that the foragers must undertake lenghty searches in order to find food storers to unload their nectar. He suggested that tremble dancing has the effect of stimulating additional bees to function as food-storers, thereby raising the colony's capacity for processing nectar.

Matt J,
I strongly disagree with you when it comes to dips. I usually hate them. If dipped in a way that I am slowly taken off my own center and that my lead has leveraged his own weight away to balance mine, then I am comfortable. This rarely happens!! Most leads drop you off your own center and then try to hold you up with muscles. No matter how strong they may be..THIS SUCKS and is extremely unattractive! I have a few female friends that are better at leading dips then men because they understand that muscle has nothing to do with it!

As for asking to dip unnecessary. If I have chosen to go out dancing in a skirt, I have already taken care of the underwear. If you are a capable lead who dips well, you can comfortably lead me without asking first. If you ask, I'll just be annoyed.


steve wins my vote as early leader for comment of the year. perfectly crafted.

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