How’s your “gaydar”?

Can you tell if someone’s gay at a glance? My gaydar is fair, but I always attributed it to aspects other than a person’s features. The way some one dresses, their mannerisms, their speech patterns or topic of conversation is what tips me off. For me the clincher is if a good looking person of the same sex walks by… Is there a fleeting “check ‘em out” look?

It seems that, at least for some, the face is all that’s needed. Researchers at the University of Washington have shown that college students positively identified the sexual orientation of gay men and women at a high rate – 65% for women and 57% for men. What was remarkable was that the identification was made a glance. Subjects were shown photos of faces for a mere 50 milliseconds. There were no other identifying characteristics such as jewelry or facial hair.

Study authors say it is not completely clear how the snap judgements are formed, but believe the results show ‘configural processing’, quickly identifying how another person’s face is made up in terms of distance between features, and ‘featural processing’, examining individual features, helps people determine sexuality.

This makes me wonder if this type of research will lead to determining a genetic factor that determines sexual orientation.

Read the entire article here.

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