Men’s dancing style determined in the womb

If you dance like a deranged spinning top, blame your mother! Apparently, the way men dance is related to how much testosterone they were exposed to in the womb, as indicated by the relative lengths of their index and ring fingers.

Previous research has shown the ratio of the lengths of the second (2D) to fourth digits (4D) of a person’s hand is related to how much testosterone they were exposed to in the womb, with a lower 2D:4D ratio being associated with greater testosterone exposure.

Bernhard Fink and colleagues filmed 52 male students dancing to a drum beat. From these, they picked out the six men who had the lowest 2D:4D ratio (that is, their index finger was relatively shorter), and the six with the highest 2D:4D ratio (their index finger was relatively longer).

One hundred and four women watched ten second video clips of the 12 men dancing. The clips were blurred and manipulated to conceal the men’s body shape and height, and they were played in a random order, so the women were ignorant of the men’s finger lengths.

The dancing men with the lower 2D:4D ratio were rated by the women as significantly more attractive, dominant and masculine compared with the men who had a higher 2D:4D ratio.

“Our data suggest that early androgens [like testosterone] could be a moderator of the variance in men’s dance movements and women’s perception of them”, the researchers said.

Fink, B., Seydel, H., Manning, J.T. & Kappeler, P.M. (2006). A preliminary investigation of the associations between digit ratio and women’s perception of men’s dance. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 381-390.

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

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