Women sacrificing comfort to wear high heels could be wasting their time because men do not even notice, a study claims.
Experts at Northumbria University are studying the reactions of men to women walking while wearing high heels and others without heels. But the experts say research has shown that men cannot even tell if a woman is wearing high heels when they walk. It is part of a wider research project into attraction and the signals sent out by movement like walking and dancing.
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.
Neave said: "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."
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 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.This study will investigate if observers can detect differences in dance movements between younger and older men.
"As people get older they become slower and less flexible but we are looking for older men who don't have major movement problems and are fairly healthy and active," said Dr Neave.
"We are assessing male movements in terms of the information they signal. We suspect that movements are 'honest' signals of age, health, personality, and hormonal status."