Bernhard Fink, Nadine Hugill and Benjamin Lange

Women’s body movements are a potential cue to ovulation

Personality and Individual Differences

Recent evidence suggests that the concept of ‘concealed ovulation’ in women should be reconsidered, as there appear to be certain behavioural, visual, olfactory, and vocal cues that serve as indirect cues to female fertility. Here we test the hypothesis that men are able to discern fertile from non-fertile women based on their dance and gait movements. Digital videos of dances and gaits of 48 heterosexual women, aged 19–33 years, were recorded twice, once in the late follicular phase, and once in the mid-luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Short video clips comprising movement silhouettes of dances and gaits were judged on attractiveness by a total of 200 men. Dances and gaits recorded in the late follicular were rated significantly more attractive compared to recordings in the mid-luteal phase. We suggest that (i) menstrual cycle effects on women’s body movements exist, and (ii) men are sensitive to these effects, as they expressed a stronger preference (via attractiveness judgments) for women’s body movements at times of peak fertility. Our data add body movements to the list of features that show systematic changes across the menstrual cycle and support the assertion that men are able to detect cues of female fertility.