Men may shuffle on to the dance floor this Christmas, but once there, they will be impressed by their moves, according to research carried out by the 'Doctor of Dance' at the University of Hertfordshire.
Research conducted by Dr Peter Lovatt from the University's School of Psychology on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme's website asked people to imagine they were at a party dancing with other people and then asked them to rate how good a dancer they thought they were compared with the average person of their own age and gender.
Almost 14,000 people filled in the Dance Style Questionnaire and the results show that although up to the age of 16, men lack confidence in their dance moves, after that their dance confidence rises steadily with men over the age of 65 having higher ratings than men between the ages of 55 and 60.
Women, on the other hand display immense confidence up to the age of 16, experience a drop between then and 20, and then confidence levels rise steadily up to 35 and then drop steadily between 55 and 65.
Dr Lovatt, who conducted this research as a follow-up to conducting an experiment into the links between genes, physical attraction and dance, believes that the discrepancy in dance confidence between men and women lies in their genetic make-up.
"Up to the age of 15 or 16, girls quite often validate their moves through dance classes which give them more confidence than boys when it comes to dancing," said Dr Lovatt. "Then after 16, they improvise and show their hormonal and genetic make-up when they dance. Men seem to be more comfortable in their genetic make-up and in tune with their natural biorhythms and therefore feel more confident when they dance."
The next question that Dr Lovatt wants to answer is "Why do you dance?" or possibly more pointedly "Why don't you dance?"
"We need to know if people's reasons for dancing change as they get older," he said. "We know despite our research findings that lots of men don't dance and we wonder why this is. It may be that they perceive it as a non-macho activity and if this is the case, we need to find ways to introduce it as a fun vital health measure."
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