## is gaydar real

 A study found that students asked to tell whether someone was gay or straight guessed correctly more often than could be put down to mere chance. Women had greater accuracy with 65 per cent able to identify someone's sexuality at a glance, while men were correct 57 per cent of the time. Evidence suggest it is easier to recognise gay women's faces than men's even when photos were shown upside down and with no hairstyle visible. Researchers in journal PLoS One say the results suggest we may unconsciously make gay or straight decisions when meeting a new face. Joshua Tabak, of the University of Washington, said: "It may be similar to how we don't have to think about whether someone is a man or a woman or black or white.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...-a-gaydar.html

My question: what photos were shown, and do they demonstrate a confirmation bias in selecting only masculine looking women as the lesbian examples?

A couple weeks ago I was going through my pictures trying to put together an album of the lesbians I have photographed in preparation for a possible show of these pics at a coffeehouse in a neighborhood known for its larger gay population. I found I had to avoid selecting shots that happened to enhance more masculine aspects of them. That is, I started off unconsciously selecting the most masculine looking shots.

If I put together an album of those masculine looking shots and then added a bunch of random, very feminine looking shots of women I know not to be lesbians, I could easily stack the deck such that almost anyone would be able to pick out the lesbians. Is this what happened in this study?

My own "gaydar" is highly dependent on hearing how someone talks, how they dress and their hair, and how they move. It's only about 50% accurate, too, in that some people make a point of telegraphing their sexuality and others completely avoid it. Unless they "stacked the deck" as I suggested, I very much doubt it's possible to tell if someone's gay from the shape of their face alone and in a still photograph.
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I agree with you. Outside of the stereotypical nuances one associates, I don't think there is any possible way to determine the preference of a person. What was the sample size of this study? They said that the percent correct was way to high to be mere coincidence, but I wouldn't believe that unless I saw the numbers myself. I mean come on, what makes a face "gay"?

 I was going through my pictures trying to put together an album of the lesbians I have photographed
Furthermore, I would like to see your photo album

 Quote by QuarkCharmer I agree with you. Outside of the stereotypical nuances one associates, I don't think there is any possible way to determine the preference of a person. What was the sample size of this study?
You mean this? :
 For the study, 129 college students viewed 96 photos each of young adult men and women who identified themselves as gay or straight.
 Furthermore, I would like to see your photo album
Here's one I posted a couple years back. Just for fun, there's one gay guy and one lesbian in this group. You pick 'em out.

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## is gaydar real

Seems like this study was very poorly done. Firstly why just two sexualities? Why not use one of the many sexuality scales like the Kinsey scale? Whilst there is an argument to be put forth that there are fashions in queer culture that are distinct it is a pretty week one considering all the diversity of fashion inherent within society. The fact that gaydar doesn't exist is monumentally unsurprising.

 Quote by Ryan_m_b The fact that gaydar doesn't exist is monumentally unsurprising.
Gaydar exists. About 50% of the time I can tell if someone is gay without them directly telling me. This is because they deliberately 'telegraph' the fact, because, I think, they want to be recognizable to other gay people.

Some people do not pay attention and never make the connection between deliberately telegraphed indicators and another's sexuality. They have no "gaydar".

Some people, though, simply do not 'telegraph' any information about their sexuality.
 gaydar is like radar a dude pings out a signal, and he interprets that signal I don't think it would work too well with just a picture of a face. But if you sit down and chit chat with someone for a while, then it *may* become apparent, even if it's not explicit. But ofc, I don't think I could figure if a person from another culture was gay or not, because it's all very much determined by the social norms that I'm aware of.

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 Quote by zoobyshoe Gaydar exists. About 50% of the time I can tell if someone is gay without them directly telling me. This is because they deliberately 'telegraph' the fact, because, I think, they want to be recognizable to other gay people. Some people do not pay attention and never make the connection between deliberately telegraphed indicators and another's sexuality. They have no "gaydar". Some people, though, simply do not 'telegraph' any information about their sexuality.
When I was (very) young, I knew I had excellent gaydar.

Then I learned not every gay person fits the stereotype.

Then I further learned, *most* gays don't fit the stereotype.

Now I know my gaydar sucks.

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 Quote by lisab When I was (very) young, I knew I had excellent gaydar. Then I learned not every gay person fits the stereotype. Then I further learned, *most* gays don't fit the stereotype. Now I know my gaydar sucks.
Very true. And conversely not every heterosexual person fits a stereotype. Metrosexuality as it's called it's pervasive in many fashion groups.

 Quote by lisab When I was (very) young, I knew I had excellent gaydar. Then I learned not every gay person fits the stereotype. Then I further learned, *most* gays don't fit the stereotype. Now I know my gaydar sucks.
I know what you mean, but I would say it's straightdar that most often is unreliable. The assumption that, in the absence of gay signals someone must be straight is where most people err. Some people just don't telegraph anything about their sexual preference, and the assumption they are all straight is the one most likely to be wrong.
 I'm pretty good at this! I can spot one out in a minute, well.... ok some are harder than others, but most of them just have that vibe.
 Leaving apart the people who fit into / adopt the stereotype, its not very reliable to predict someone's sexuality. Also its true that some continuous variation between gay and straight exists (someone mentioned the Kinsey scale). Often the subject oneself is confused or even unaware of ones' own fluctuations... I myself am always missed out of other people's dars :p
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 Quote by Evo Who new Jillian Michaels is gay? http://tv.yahoo.com/news/-biggest-lo...er-of-two.html
Or Sheldon? My wife claims to have good gaydar but she was surprised by that.

 Quote by mrdebraj Also its true that some continuous variation between gay and straight exists (someone mentioned the Kinsey scale). Often the subject oneself is confused or even unaware of ones' own fluctuations...
People consciously misreport themselves a lot, too, probably for simplicity's sake. To be accurate most people who characterize themselves as "gay" probably should be saying "bi".

In any event, the notion you can tell anything definite from a photograph strikes me as hard to believe.

 Quote by Borg Or Sheldon?
He set my gaydar off in about 2 seconds. Seriously.

edit: here's my reaction to him the first time Dave posted a clip of the show:

http://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...&postcount=152
 I do not think the conclusion of the study has any merit in its attempt to describe what the general population possesses in terms of gaydar. Its conclusion should have been that a small young (?) university volunteer group of mostly female members was able to discern, from altered (clipped) facial photographs selected from Facebook by another group of unknown individuals ( whose demographics and preferences are unknown), the sexual preference of the individual depicted in said photograph correctly by a factor somewhat just greater than by chance. And that further study on the general population should be done to confirm or deny the premise obtained. Personnally I do not think the study adds anything more to the scientific pool of information since it was so limited. As humans tend to label and categorize everything around them why should that not be surprising that gay/not gay is a category to try to fit someone else into. If someone has gaydar than that would mean they would have to rely on vague clues from previous experience and certainly that is not foolproof. Rumour had it at one time that John Wayne was gay.

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 Quote by zoobyshoe My question: what photos were shown, and do they demonstrate a confirmation bias in selecting only masculine looking women as the lesbian examples?
When I got settled in to college over 40 years ago, the hottest-looking woman on campus was the president of the Wilde-Stein Club (gay social organization) and her lover was arguably the second-hottest (though close). One day, I was killing some time in the student union lounge with my Gibson 12-string, playing and singing, and they both sat in the love-seat facing mine. They stayed quite a long time, and as my flamboyantly gay friend from my area of Maine entered the lounge, the ladies started hugging and sharing passionate kisses. My friend told me that I was "another victim" or something similar, suggesting an ambush. I had no idea. My friend told me who they were, and he was laughing at my expense. I didn't have any gaydar then.

I had no idea of their sexual orientation or club affiliation, and my friend was laughing his butt off.