Conscientious men with socially agreeable personalities are likelier to be perceived as good dancers by women, a new study states.
The new research suggests that the information conveyed by dance is even broader, according to study researcher Bernard Fink, of the University of Gottingen, in Germany.
Fink and his colleagues focused on the "Big Five" traits, five basic attributes that describe the spectrum of human personality.
Those traits are openness (a willingness to explore new things), conscientiousness (a tendency toward self-discipline), extroversion (social exuberance), agreeableness (compassion and care for others) and neuroticism (a tendency to experience negative emotions).
The researchers asked 48 men between the ages of 18 and 42 to fill out personality questionnaires that would show where they fell on the spectrum of each trait.
Then the men danced to the drumbeat of Robbie Williams' 1997 song "Let Me Entertain You." The music and lyrics were cut out, to prevent the men's love or hatred of the song from influencing their enthusiasm to dance.
Next, 53 women between the ages of 17 and 57 watched 15-second clips of the men's dance moves transposed onto a computer-generated avatar. Each woman judged each man's dancing ability on a scale of 1 to 7.
The results revealed that the more conscientious and socially agreeable a man's personality, the more likely women were to view him as a good dancer.
The researchers also found patterns suggesting that extroverts might be better dancers, while people who scored high in neuroticism or openness were seen as worse on the dance floor.
But those patterns were not statistically significant, meaning they could have been the result of chance.
Fink says he believes a larger study sample would provide the statistical oomph needed to prove that those non-significant traits are linked to a guy's ability to break it down. But put together with old findings, he said, the new study suggests that women are sensitive to discerning personality traits that would be important for both short-term and long-term relationships.
"The significant correlations of conscientiousness and social agreeableness suggest that dance movements signal particularly aspects of 'long-term' partner qualities," Fink wrote in an email to LiveScience.
The finding will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.