Male movements serve as courtship signals in many animal species, and may honestly reflect the physical quality of the individual. In our research we use advanced 3D motion-capture technology to identify possible biomechanical differences between perceptions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ male and female dancers. We have identified specific movements within dance that influence perceptions of dancing ability, in males the upper body seems most important, while in females the hips are paramount. We suggest that such movements may form honest signals of quality in terms of health, reproductive quality and psychological characteristics, and our ongoing research programme attempts to address this.
Dr Nick Neave is a Reader within the Northumbria University’s Department of Psychology. He is Faculty Director of Ethics and Chair of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee. He contributes to the teaching at Undergraduate level, acting as Module Tutor for ‘Parapsychology’, ‘Evolutionary Psychology’, and ‘Hormones & Behaviour’. At Postgraduate level he teaches on modules associated with the M.Res, and delivers a Media Skills Training Course for Postgraduate Researchers.