Prof's body movement research
highlighted in iTunes U podcast


Research by College of Architecture professor Lou Tassinary suggests that people’s perceptions of others’ attractiveness and sexual orientation may come from watching how they move.

Details of the research, available as a podcast on iTunes U., were obtained through studies of more than 700 subjects who observed both real and computer-animated people walking.

Tassinary worked with Kerri Johnson, then a research scientist and adjunct faculty member at New York University and now an assistant professor in communication studies at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Tassinary  started thinking about the visual cues to human attractiveness because he didn’t think that body shape, by itself, told the whole story. Johnson wrote in an article reporting their findings that “people have always tried to identify the magical formula for beauty, and we knew body shape was important, but we found movement was also key.”

They also found that the way people move has a big impact on whether others perceive their orientation to be heterosexual or homosexual. Men with shoulder swagger, and women who walk with hip sway, are generally perceived to be heterosexual, while less typical body motion leads to the opposite judgment.

The podcast, “Body Motion and Perceptions of Attractiveness,” is available as a free download from the Texas A&M iTunes U page as a “Texas A&M Research Quick Brief.”

The podcast may also be downloaded here:

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Lou Tassinary

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