Ladies love John Travolta

A new study shows that women like a man who can boogie.

By Juliana Bunim
Published December 23, 2005 9:45PM (EST)

Good dancers have been sweeping the rest of us mere mortals off our feet and using their moves as a way to woo since the dating game began. But for the first time, theres a scientific explanation for what causes us to swoon. Rutgers University recently released a study that shows smooth moves increase one's attractiveness because humans love symmetry, and good dancers work it symmetrically.

Researchers filmed 183 Jamaican teenagers boogying down, and then used motion-capture technology to turn their images into animated figures. According to a Rutgers press release, "the researchers then asked peers of the dancers to evaluate the dancing ability of these animated figures." The animation let the scientists make the dancers "gender-neutral, faceless and the same size -- all to keep evaluators from boosting or dropping dancers scores" based on anything other than their moves.

By rating dancers based on the movement of individual parts (elbows, fingers, ears), scientists were able to conclude symmetrical dancers were consistently rated more positively -- especially by women.

"In a species where fathers invest less than mothers in their offspring, females tend to be more selective in mate choice and males therefore invest more in courtship display," Rutgers researcher William Brown says. "More symmetrical men put on a better show, and women notice." (No word on how the finding applies to same-sex couples, it seems.)

Putting on a better show doesn't necessarily indicate higher functioning or better fitness as a mate, though, so we'll try to resist hopping the soul train for now.

Juliana Bunim

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