Is men's dancing ability dictated in the womb?

Men who visit the University of Hertfordshire's Health and Human Sciences Research Institute Showcase next week can have their ears and fingers measured and dance moves scrutinised to get a rating on their expected attractiveness to women.

Dr Peter Lovatt from the University's School of Psychology will host a stand at the Showcase when he will test his hot-off-the-press research findings into what it is about the way a man dances that attracts a woman.

He will measure men's ears and fingers to assess levels of prenatal testosterone and physical symmetry on the basis that it's accepted that men with symmetrical ears and for whom the fourth finger is considerably longer than the second finger, have high levels of prenatal testosterone.

He will then either invite them to dance or to describe their dance moves so that he can predict their attractiveness to women.

Dr Lovatt, who teaches on the only Psychology of Performance degree-level course in the UK, carried out some research over the summer into what features of men's freestyle dance communicate dominance, masculinity, attractiveness and quality (DMAQ) to women.

Bearing in mind two previous studies in this field which showed that female ratings of DMAQ of men's freestyle dance are associated with levels of prenatal testosterone and symmetry, Dr Lovatt, himself an ex-dancer. asked 55 women to rate him dancing in 12 different ways.

The findings suggest that the ratings of DMAQ are influenced differentially by interactions between the size and degree of coordination of movement.

"The implication of these findings is that high testosterone men are unlikely to share a common pattern of dancing which leads to them all being rated as universally attractive," said Dr Lovatt. "At our Showcase, we could help men with low prenatal testosterone to dance the dance of high testosterone by just varying their moves on the dance floor."

Dr Lovatt will be at his stand at the Showcase on Tuesday 21 October between 6-9pm and on Thursday 23 October from 8-10.15am and 6-9pm.

The Health and Human Sciences Research Institute Showcase will host a variety of research being conducted by the University of Hertfordshire and will be held at the de Havilland Campus from 21-24 October. For further information, please visit: the Showcase website at: www.healthshowcase.co.uk.

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