Female Perceptions of Male Body Movements

Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)


The majority of studies on human physical appearance within the evolutionary psychology framework have focused on static two-dimensional representations of facial and body morphology. While such experiments are useful for testing people’s preferences and reactions to even subtle changes in physical features, there is an inherent limitation with regard to the ecological validity of these types of stimuli. Recent research on female perceptions of male body movements suggests that females derive similar cues of male “quality” from movement as from faces and bodies. Here we review studies on key biological and social characteristics that can be derived from body movements, with a focus on female perception of males, and present evidence for the assertion that male dance movements in particular affect female mate preferences. We support this by reporting preliminary empirical data of studies on (1) cross-cultural similarities and differences in female perceptions of male dance movements and (2) relationships between female perceptions of male dancing, running, and walking. Finally, we present some ideas for future research directions to stimulate the scientific investigation on the significance of male body movements in the context of inter- and intrasexual selection.


Fluctuate Asymmetry Handgrip Strength Biological Motion Superior Temporal Sulcus Digit Ratio 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Courant Research Centre Evolution of Social BehaviorGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  4. 4.Courant Research Centre Evolution of Social BehaviorUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Faculty of Health & Life SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  6. 6.Escola Superior de Educação Física de JundiaíJundiaíBrazil
  7. 7.Escola Superior de Educação Física de JundiaíJundiaíBrazil

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