In the present work, we investigated the pop cultural idea that people have a sixth sense, called "gaydar," to detect who is gay. We propose that "gaydar" is an alternate label for using stereotypes to infer orientation (e.g., inferring that fashionable men are gay). Another account, however, argues that people possess a facial perception process that enables them to identify sexual orientation from facial structure.
We report five experiments testing these accounts. Participants made gay-or-straight judgments about fictional targets that were constructed using experimentally manipulated stereotypic cues and real gay/straight people's face cues. These studies revealed that orientation is not visible from the face-purportedly "face-based" gaydar arises from a third-variable confound. People do, however, readily infer orientation from stereotypic attributes (e.g., fashion, career).
Furthermore, the folk concept of gaydar serves as a legitimizing myth: Compared to a control group, people stereotyped more often when led to believe in gaydar, whereas people stereotyped less when told gaydar is an alternate label for stereotyping. Discussion focuses on the implications of the gaydar myth and why, contrary to some prior claims, stereotyping is highly unlikely to result in accurate judgments about orientation.
Below: Cropping example. This is a picture of a lab volunteer, cropped like the stimuli used in the present studies. The cropped pictures were placed on a white background larger than is shown in this figure.
|He is a hair dresser||2.39||(0.766)||He likes to travel||4.00||(0.338)||He plays football||5.61||(0.934)|
|He is an interior designer||2.53||(0.774)||He likes children||4.00||(0.487)||He hunts||5.58||(0.937)|
|He is a Cher fan||2.61||(0.838)||He is outgoing||3.97||(0.654)||He watches Sports Center||5.31||(0.786)|
|He is fashionable||2.92||(0.732)||He likes spaghetti||3.97||(0.167)||He drives a pick-up truck||5.31||(0.889)|
|He likes going to the mall||2.93||(0.997)||He likes animals||3.97||(0.506)||He watches NASCAR||5.31||(1.009)|
|He likes musical theater||3.03||(0.654)||He has two siblings||3.97||(0.167)||He does not care about fashion||5.11||(0.747)|
|He likes shopping||3.06||(0.791)||He likes listening to music||3.97||(0.291)||He is a firefighter||5.06||(0.924)|
|He has a stylish home||3.08||(0.841)||He has a good sense of humor||4.03||(0.291)||He is a rapper||5.06||(0.984)|
|He does not like sports||3.31||(0.668)||He has an accent||4.03||(0.506)||He is a police officer||4.97||(0.845)|
|He is a nurse||3.39||(0.599)||He likes to drink alcohol||4.06||(0.232)||He likes cars||4.97||(0.845)|
|He spends his time working for equal rights||3.44||(0.652)||He likes watching movies||3.94||(0.333)||He rides a motorcycle||4.97||(0.774)|
|He likes to be well dressed||3.5||(0.609)||He likes to read||3.94||(0.232)||He is good at sports||4.97||(1.000)|
|He likes dancing||3.53||(0.654)||He likes to go jogging||3.94||(0.410)||He likes to play basketball for fun||4.94||(0.954)|
|He likes to be well groomed||3.58||(0.604)||He is active||4.14||(0.424)||He is a Republican||4.86||(1.089)|
|−1.16 ≤ skews ≤ 0.13||−4.05 ≤ skews ≤ 4.05||−0.37 ≤ skews ≤ 0.68|
|−1.37 ≤ kurtoses ≤ 0.56||−1.85 ≤ kurtoses ≤ 15.26||−1.37 ≤ kurtoses ≤ 0.56|
|t (13) = −8.751, p < 0.001||t (13) = −0.337, p = 0.741||t (13) = 17.854, p < 0.001|
Note. Descriptive statistics from the pretesting of the selected stimulus statements. Ratings were on a scale from 1 (very gay) to 7 (very straight). To verify our selections, the one-sample t-tests compared the set of statements to the scale midpoint, 4 (neither gay nor straight).
Full article at: http://goo.gl/mRXJEr
- 1 Department of Psychology , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Madison , Wisconsin , USA.
- J Sex Res. 2016 Feb;53(2):157-71. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2015.1015714. Epub 2015 Jul 28.
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