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Men tend to walk slower when walking with romantic partners

Date:
October 23, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
When walking with female romantic partners, males tend to slow down by about 7 percent.

When walking with female romantic partners, males tend to slow down by about 7%, according to new research published Oct 23 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Cara Wall-Scheffler and colleagues at Seattle Pacific University.

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People have an optimal walking speed that minimizes energy expenditure. This optimal speed varies with physical features like mass and lower limb length, and therefore males in any given population tend to have faster optimal walking speeds than females. Given this difference, it is not clear what happens in walking groups of mixed-sex. In order to walk together, someone in the pair will need to pay the energetic cost of deviating from his or her optimal speed.

The authors here examined individuals' speed choices when they walked around a track alone, with a significant other (with and without holding hands), and with friends of the same and opposite sex. They found that males walk at a significantly slower pace to match the females' paces, only when the female is their romantic partner. The paces of friends of either same or mixed sex walking together did not significantly change, suggesting that significant pace adjustments occur only for romantic partners.

These findings could have implications for both mobility and reproductive strategies of groups, and could help interpret fossil footprint trails and hunter gatherer strategies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Janelle Wagnild, Cara M. Wall-Scheffler. Energetic Consequences of Human Sociality: Walking Speed Choices among Friendly Dyads. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e76576 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076576

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Men tend to walk slower when walking with romantic partners." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183250.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, October 23). Men tend to walk slower when walking with romantic partners. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183250.htm
Public Library of Science. "Men tend to walk slower when walking with romantic partners." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023183250.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

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