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lord of the flies|Lord of the dance 舞王(双语)

来源:双语新闻 时间:2019-05-13 点击:

THE need to identify a suitable mate is such a strong biological urge that the animal kingdom has spawned a bewildering array of courtship rituals. Hippo males fling their faeces; flatworms have penis-jousting contests; and humpback whales sing and leap above the ocean surface. Such competitive displays depend on the speed, strength and size of an animal, which is why they convey a measure of reproductive fitness.

在动物王国,动物们需要找到合适的伴侣,这种强烈的生物本能使它们创造了许多求偶仪式,让人眼花缭乱。雄性河马会甩它们的粪便,扁虫用阴茎比武,座头鲸则唱歌并跃出水面。这种竞赛表演,比的是速度、力量、个头大小,因而可以用来评估其是否适合繁衍后代。

Dancing is popular among animals for similar reasons. Scorpions and sandhill cranes, for instance, dance to impress. Humans also use dance as part of courtship, but it has been difficult for scientists to pin down exactly what it is about a dance that appeals to members of the opposite sex. This is because factors such as facial attractiveness, height and even social status tend to confound any attempt to judge the relative merits of a person’s gyrations.

舞蹈风靡动物界,也基于同样原因。比如,雄性蝎子和沙丘鹤就用舞蹈吸引异性。人类在求爱时也会跳舞。但舞蹈究竟是如何打动异性的,科学家们却无法确切解答,因为长相、身高甚至社会地位等因素都会干扰人们,使其无法正确评判一个人的舞姿。

Nick Neave of Northumbria University in Britain decided to try to answer the question with motion-capture technology, which is used to make films like “Avatar”. Thirty students were recruited, none of whom was a professional dancer. They were covered in reflective markers, which allowed cameras to capture their dancing moves. A constant drum beat was provided and the students were asked to dance, but not told how.

英国诺森比亚大学的尼克·尼夫决定用动作捕捉技术找出答案。《阿凡达》等影片应用的就是这一技术。研究人员找来了30名学生,没有一位是专业舞者,并在他们身上安放反光标记,以使摄像机能够捕捉到他们的动作。伴着持续的鼓点,学生们应要起舞,在没有指示的情况下,随心舞动。

The motion-capture data were used to animate a humanoid avatar that was featureless and gender-neutral. Heterosexual women were then asked to judge the quality of the dancing. The results, published in Biology Letters, were intriguing: the most attractive movements were those that had “variability and amplitude” in the head, neck and trunk.

研究人员把捕捉到的运动数据通过电脑制作了一个虚拟人物,它没有相貌特征,也看不出性别。接着,30名异性恋女士被要求评判舞姿。刊登在《生物学快报》上的研究结果非常有趣。结果显示,那些在头部、颈部、躯干“变化多、幅度大”的动作最有魅力。

Dr Neave explains that humans move in three planes. You can nod your head backwards and forwards, side to side or twist your neck to look over a shoulder. The women rated big movements in these three planes for both the head and the trunk as the most attractive. However, there was an additional factor, says Dr Neave. Headbanging (sorry, Motörhead fans) was simply not attractive: although it would show a large amplitude of movement in one plane it would not show the variability of movement that seems to appeal to women. Choreographers have told Dr Neave that movements in these three planes comes from strength and suppleness, so they would help to indicate a genetically fit male.

尼夫博士解释道,人的动作分三个平面(译者注:正面,矢状面,横截面,具体参看下面yannanchen版主释义))。你可以前后点头,左右摆头,或回头看。女性们认为在这三个平面,头部和躯干均有大幅动作最有魅力。不过尼夫博士也提到了另外一点,即上下用力点头并无吸引力(抱歉,摩托头乐队的粉丝们)。尽管这个动作在一个平面上幅度很大,但缺少变化,无法吸引女性。编舞人员告诉尼夫博士,这三个面的动作能够体现力量和柔韧性,因此有助于找出基因上适合生育的男性。

One curiosity was that, statistically, the speed of movement of the right knee also appeared to be important in signalling dance quality. Dr Neave, however, believes this may simply result from 80% of men being right footed, and so tending to place more weight on their left foot in order to demonstrate leg-waggling prowess with the right one.

从数据上看,右膝的运动速度似乎对于舞姿优美与否也很重要,这不禁让人好奇。不过,尼夫博士认为,这是因为80%的男性惯用右脚,他们倾向于把重心放在左腿上,这样右腿就能更好地展现舞动的力量。

Strictly in the moves
仅就动作而言

Kristofor McCarty, a scientist who was also involved in the study, believes the work is the first scientific step towards understanding the biology and culture of dance. The scientists think that the core moves of an attractive dance may be universal, but that many cultures will have variations. For instance, in places where folk dances require the torso to be rigid, one would expect to find more emphasis put on the movement of the feet or head.

科学家克里斯托弗·麦卡迪也参与了这项研究,他认为对于了解舞蹈的生物作用和文化内涵,该研究迈出了科学的第一步。科学家们认为,好看的舞蹈其主要动作是共通的,但因文化差异,也会产生不同。比如说,有些地方的民族舞蹈不允许躯干有太大动作,那么动作就会更多地放在脚部和头部。

As for Dr Neave, he says that at 46 his dancing days are over. Nonetheless he remains interested enough to suspect that physically attractive males are better dancers and also wonders whether it is possible to detect a person’s age from the quality of their dancing. If he can recruit enough gay men, he would also like to see if they make better dancers.

尼夫博士表示,46岁的他基本已经告别舞蹈了。不过,他还是饶有兴致地猜测,是否那些外形更佳的男性舞姿也更优美,是否可以通过舞步猜出一个人的年龄,是否男同性恋跳得更棒,当然前提是他得找到足够多的男“同志”。  更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

And then there are the sexual signals from female movement to explore. Dr Neave has started to look (in the scientific sense) at women in high heels and ask whether high-heeled avatars are more attractive to men. Some have speculated that the attractiveness of high heels is down to the effect they create of longer legs or a youthful gait, or that high heels simply make a woman’s bum wobble. Avatars, having standard legs and no wobbly bits, should therefore be able to solve that perpetual male mystery: why do women buy shoes that they cannot walk in?

女性动作散发的性信号,也有待进一步研究。尼夫博士已开始观察(从科学角度)穿高跟鞋的女性,并提出疑问,穿高跟鞋的电脑模拟人像是否也更有魅力。一些人认为,高跟鞋带来的吸引归根结底是让双腿显得更修长,步态更年轻,或者就是让女性的屁股扭得更厉害。而腿长得都一样,也没有胸部的虚拟人像,也许可以解开这个一直困扰男性的问题:为什么女人要买不跟脚的鞋?

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