Bernhard Fink, Bettina Weege, Nick Neave, Michael N Pham, and Todd K Shackelford (2015)

Integrating body movement into attractiveness research

Frontiers in Psychology, 6:220.

People judge attractiveness and make trait inferences from the physical appearance of others, and research reveals high agreement among observers making such judgments. Evolutionary psychologists have argued that interest in physical appearance and beauty reflects adaptations that motivate the search for desirable qualities in a potential partner. Although men more than women value the physical appearance of a partner, appearance universally affects social perception in both sexes. Most studies of attractiveness perceptions have focused on third party assessments of static representations of the face and body. Corroborating evidence suggests that body movement, such as dance, also conveys information about mate quality. Here we review evidence that dynamic cues (e.g., gait, dance) also influence perceptions of mate quality, including personality traits, strength, and overall attractiveness. We recommend that attractiveness research considers the informational value of body movement in addition to static cues, to present an integrated perspective on human social perception.