What Your Dance Moves Say About You

How you dance reveals certain personality traits

Check out a group of people rocking out on a dance floor, and it’s easy to figure out who’s got rhythm and who doesn’t. But how you move on the dance floor says even more about you than your dancing ability. Forget about taking a guy home to find out what kind of person he is. According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, you can size up someone’s personality by his or her dancing style. So the next time you’re about to give out your digits, make sure he does a little jig for you first.

For the study, researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland asked 952 volunteers to complete a questionnaire that measured various aspects of their personality. They were then divided into five different personality types: Extroverted, neurotic, conscientious, agreeable and open-minded. According to psychologists, we all have varying degrees of each trait in us. For the sake of the study, researchers chose the 60 volunteers who scored highest in one particular trait and studied their movements on the dance floor. This allowed them to isolate each personality type and analyze whether these traits expressed themselves in certain ways when dancing. Here’s what they found out:

Open-minded people like to bounce. They tend to move up and down rhythmically, and do not move around as much as other personality types.

Conscientious people are all over the dance floor. They like to take up space and move around the dance floor often -- what researchers refer to as “global movement.” Their hands also move in longer, more sweeping gestures.

Extroverts make the most use of their body, especially their arms and heads. Their moves are often exaggerated and energetic. Though they don’t circulate the dance floor as much as conscientious people do, they score high in “local movement.”

Neurotic people dance with sharp, jerky movements of their hands and feet. Think Devo or Elaine Benes.

Agreeable people tend to have smoother movements than others. Their signature move: Moving side to side while swinging their hands. That sounds to me like the junior high side step: Don’t do anything too crazy out there. Just move your feet back and forth and no one will make fun of you. Very agreeable indeed.

To quote Sarah Jessica Parker in what’s arguably her best movie ever, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, “I love to dance!” Though my days of trolling nightclubs are over, I still enjoy watching men move on the dance floor. If a guy can dance, I am smitten. The more risks he takes on the dance floor, and the more willing he is to goof around, the more in love I become. I think that makes the type of guy I fall for a combination of conscientious, extroverted and neurotic. I’d say that sums up my husband well. Even though Ryan says he doesn’t like to dance, he always clears the dance floor. He puts on a performance that’s so comedic, at some point people have to stop and watch. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little glimpse of him dancing to MC Hammer at our wedding. As for me? My herky-jerky movements are neurotic all the way.

What does your dance style say about your personality? Chime in below!

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