Gait is a person's manner of walking. How attractive a person's gait is depends on many important factors such the straightness of the limbs, , technique, shoulder width, forearm length, torso length, height, upright posture, physical strength, emotional state, intentions, and rhythm. Women more than men discriminate between strong and weak walkers when assessing the attractiveness of male gait. Though this appears to vary by culture, with men and women of the Maasai people of northern Tanzania rating the gaits of strong men less attractive than those of weak men, whilst women but not men in Britain rate the gaits of strong men as more attractive than those of weak men.
Altering the human female gait through high heels is also likely a female sexual strategy that enhances attractiveness through imitation of a lordotic (swayback) mating posture, also found in female lower primates.
A naturally anteriorly tilted lumbar curvature may also be innately attractive in women in a fashion that is somewhat distinct from any resemblance of the lordosis copulatory position found among the lower animals, as this kind of lumbar curvature may have allowed ancestral female hominids to attenuate the lower back issues often caused by the hyper-lordotic posture associated with the later stages of pregnancy, caused by the forward-shifted centre of gravity that is induced by the load of the fetus and the amniotic fluid in the womb.
Regardless of the potential evolutionary reasons why men may find such a swayback posture sexually stimulating in women, several studies such as a light-point biomotion study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior have discovered that men find women wearing high-heels particularly attractive. The same posing of the arched spine also makes twerking a particularly sexually provocative dance.
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People intuit other's gait consciously and subconsciously to attempt to determine interpersonal characteristics, (personality, social status, health etc.) to varying degrees of accuracy.  Psychopaths are more accurate at perceiving potential victim's vulnerability based on gait cues.  Autists also generally have a more awkward gait compared to neurotypicals. The awkwardness (lack of rhythm) is especially noticeable using motion tracking software.
A study on body motion cues was performed to understand better how intentions and traits are perceived from body movement. The researchers conducted two experiments to investigate whether the perceived traits of actors could be determined from their body motion and whether these traits were associated with their perceived intentions. The researchers recorded body motions from 26 professional actors, who were instructed to move in a "hero"-like or a "villain"-like manner. In the first experiment, 190 participants viewed individual video recordings of these actors. They were required to provide ratings to the body motion stimuli and a series of different cognitive dimensions (intentions, attractiveness, dominance, trustworthiness, and distinctiveness). The intersubject ratings across observers were highly consistent, suggesting that social traits are readily determined from body motion.
Moreover, correlational analyses between these ratings revealed consistent associations across traits, for example, perceived "good" intentions were associated with higher ratings of attractiveness and dominance. The second experiment results revealed distinct body motions that were readily associated with the perception of either "good" or "bad" intentions. Moreover, regression analyses revealed that these ratings accurately predicted the perception of the portrayed character type. These findings indicate that intentions and social traits are communicated effectively via specific sets of body motion features.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Fisherian runaway
- Looks theory
- Halo effect
References[edit | edit source]