Brought to heel

Sorry this is kind of outdated (I’ve been away for the week), but it’s yet another article about research by your friend and mine, Dr. Nick Neave, researcher behind the dodgy dancing study.

Men don’t notice women in high heels“, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday, with The Express chiming in “Sorry girls, but men don’t get a kick out of your high heels” and The Mail adding “Don’t bother with the high heels ladies, men don’t even notice!

In fact, the study – apparently a follow up to the dancing study – only found that men found it difficult to distinguish between motion captured footage of women walking with and without heels. How statistically significant was it? Did all men fail to tell the difference or just some? How many different types of heel did they test? How did they control for the fact that people naturally have different gaits anyway? How did the motion capture take the different foot position into account?

The simple answer is that there’s no way of knowing. This is not based on published research (no journal search engines return any useful hits for “neave + heels”, “neave + shoes”, “neave + gait”, etc.) – as far as I can tell, it instead comes from data that was rejected from an actual study or, at the very least, data that has not yet passed through the peer review process. Without the data and the methodology, there’s no way to know whether they’ve stumbled onto some great secret of the universe, or just have a null result from a study that didn’t quite work.

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