Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Field

Via Nature
Dance is believed to be important in the courtship of a variety of species, including humans, but nothing is known about what dance reveals about the underlying phenotypic—or genotypic—quality of the dancer. One measure of quality in evolutionary studies is the degree of bodily symmetry (fluctuating asymmetry, FA), because it measures developmental stability. Does dance quality reveal FA to the observer and is the effect stronger for male dancers than female? To answer these questions, we chose a population that has been measured twice for FA since 1996 (ref. 9) in a society (Jamaican) in which dancing is important in the lives of both sexes. Motion-capture cameras created controlled stimuli (in the form of videos) that isolated dance movements from all other aspects of visual appearance (including FA), and the same population evaluated these videos for dancing ability. Here we report that there are strong positive associations between symmetry and dancing ability, and these associations were stronger in men than in women. In addition, women rate dances by symmetrical men relatively more positively than do men, and more-symmetrical men value symmetry in women dancers more than do less-symmetrical men. In summary, dance in Jamaica seems to show evidence of sexual selection and to reveal important information about the dancer.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ian said...

Damn you! I was totally going to blog about this!

18:47  
Blogger Roy said...

Sorry, if you have any idea what they mean by symmetric fill me in; I ain't got a clue. Do you like your jiggling in phase or out of phase?

10:20  

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