Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Are Heels Really Worth the Hassle? New Study Looks into Signals Sent out by Walking

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Are Heels Really Worth the Hassle? New Study Looks into Signals Sent out by Walking

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson

WOMEN sacrifice comfort and cash to wear high heels - but is it worth it? Experts at Northumbria University are studying the reactions of men to women walking while wearing high heels and others without heels. It is part of a wider research project into attraction and the signals sent out by movement like walking and dancing.

Earlier this month The Journal reported how, using 3D motion-capture technology researchers at Northumbria University had identified the movement areas of a male dancer's body that influence female perceptions of whether their dance skills are good or bad.

The study, led by evolutionary psychologist Dr Nick Neave and researcher Kristofor McCarty, for the first time identified potential biomechanical differences between "good" and "bad" male dancers.

Dr Neave believes that such dance movements may act as signals of a man's reproductive quality, in terms of health, vigour or strength.

Now another study is looking at women between 18 and 35 and what signals are sent out when the they walk with and without heels.

Male observers in the experiment cannot tell which figures are wearing heels.

"Women are spending money on high heels, which can be dangerous, presumably to make themselves look good and add to what nature has given them," said Dr Neave. The study is investigating if the change in body posture brought about by wearing heels, such as the illusion of longer legs, tilting torso and more prominent rear, sends a signal which has an impact on men.

Dr Neave said: "Everybody is attracted to somebody else and making relationships is very important to humans.

"Making key relationships and having children are some of the most important decisions people will make."

The role of movement and signals was fundamentally important.

"But scientifically we know very little about this," added Dr Neave. Dr Neave is also seeking heterosexual male recruits, aged 50 and over, as well as homosexual men aged 18-40, to be filmed by the 3D camera system that will convert their movements into computerised figures, or avatars. …

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