It turns out a new study from Germany has found that women prefer the dance moves of men who also have thoughtful and agreeable personalities. Earlier research had discovered the no-brainer that women judged the dance movements of stronger or more risk-taking men as more attractive, hence pegging them as better dancers. But this new research suggests that much more information is being conveyed through dance than anyone could guess. Bernhard Fink, of the University of Göttingen said that dance, as the most complex body movement, signals personality, and explains why dance is very prominent in most human societies.
Researchers at University of Northumbria, UK, had found that women really appreciate certain moves, and particular variations of movement in the neck and torso. Using motion-capture technology to record the men's dance moves and transfering them onto featureless animations ensured that the women watching had no access to other cues that could signal attractiveness.
The women in the study picked up on indicators of strength and risk-taking after just a few seconds watching the dancing avatars. This inspired the scientists to look at five other basic personality traits that cover a majority of western personalities: openness, the willingness to explore new things; conscientiousness, the trait of self-discipline; extroversion, the display of social exuberance; agreeableness, compassion and care for others; and neuroticism, the ability to experience negative emotions.
Forty-eight men aged 18 to 42 filled out questionnaires that indicated where they fell within the spectrum of each trait. Then they danced to the beat of Robbie Williams' 1997 song Let Me Entertain You with music and lyrics removed.
Fifty-three women, aged 17 to 57, watched fifteen-second clips of the dance moves and judged each one on a scale of one to seven. Results indicated that the more conscientious and socially agreeable a man's personality, the more likely women were to view him as a good dancer.
Researchers found patterns that also suggested extroverts might be better dancers, while those scoring high marks in neuroticism or openness were not as favorably viewed on the dance floor. Together with other studies, the new study suggests that women are sensitive to a blend of discerning, yet daring, personality traits that would help support short-term and long-term relationships.