Eye Tracking: Sexual Attraction on the Dance Floor
Dancing is a fascinating phenomenon that spans the ages and practically every culture in history. For most people, there is something about rhythm that compels the body to move, but why is this? Is it simply a behavior influenced by culture and adopted as a social norm, or is it ingrained in our nature, in our genes?
Dr. Peter Lovatt, a lecturer in Psychology of Dance at the University of Hertfordshire, suggests the latter, and more specifically that the compulsion to move to music may be similar to a mating ritual. Lovatt is using eye tracking to back his theory up.
Anyone who has seen the movie Dirty Dancing, or has been to a nightclub knows what George Bernard Shaw was talking about when he said, “Dance is the vertical expression of horizontal desire, legalized by music.” Lovett suggests that the way we dance is related to hormone levels and genetics, and we use dance not only to attract potential mates but also to signal levels of fertility. Lovett headed to a nightclub to conduct research on male and female dancing behaviors and how these behaviors related to hormone levels.
He found there was a connection between the way males and females dance and their hormone levels. Males with high levels of testosterone danced in a way that was preferred by women over the way men with low levels of testosterone danced.
And what makes a woman most attractive on the dance floor? The way she moves those H-I-P’s. Using an eye tracking device to find out which part of a woman’s body men look at while she’s dancing, Lovett found that the primary focus was on the hips. Hormones seem to rule.
Women at the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycle move their hips more than when at a less fertile stage, and men spent more time looking at women who moved their hips the most. If the amount of time a man spends looking at a particular woman’s hips is related to his attraction to her, then more fertile women are more attractive to men.
Eye tracking can certainly reveal some interesting things about human behavior. Next time you find yourself on the dance floor, keep in mind there may be more to the phrase “shakin’ your tail feather” than meets the eye.
Sex and Dancing