Bettina Weege, Benjamin P Lange, and Bernhard Fink (2012)

Women’s visual attention to variation in men’s dance quality

Personality and Individual Differences, 53(3):236-240.

Recent research shows that ‘good’ male dancers display larger and more variable movements of their head, neck and trunk, and differ in certain personality characteristics from ‘bad’ dancers. Here we elaborate on these findings by testing the hypothesis that ‘good’ male dancers will also receive higher visual attention and will be judged as being more attractive by women. The eye-gaze of 46 women aged 19–33 years was tracked whilst they viewed pairs of video clips of male dancers in the form of avatars created using motion capture, each pair showing one ‘good’ and one ‘bad’ dancer together on the screen. In a subsequent rating task, women judged each dance avatar on perceived attractiveness and masculinity. Our data show that women viewed ‘good’ dancers significantly longer and more often than ‘bad’ dancers. In addition, visual attention was positively correlated with perceived attractiveness and masculinity, though the latter association failed to reach statistical significance. We conclude that (i) ‘good’ male dancers receive higher visual attention from women as compared to ‘bad’ dancers, and (ii) ‘good’ dancers are being judged as more attractive. This suggests that in following mating-related motives, women are selectively processing male dynamic displays, such as dance movements.