When it comes to trying to figure out someone’s sexuality, the possibilities and assumptions are endless. The myth about everyone having a ‘gaydar’ might hold true.
A study conducted by the University of Washington, in which a group of 129 student volunteers were presented pictures of both men and women, straight and gay, that found people use a combination of clues from individual facial features and from the way those features fit together to make unfounded judgments about sexual orientation. Researchers used cropped faces without hair, jewelry or other possible cues about sexual orientation. Based on looking at the eyes and noses of those in the pictures and how they may fit together on one’s face, the group was able to correctly guess the person’s sexual orientation about 50 to 60 percent of the time. Some were even able to guess correctly when the pictures were shown upside down although the percentage did lower.
Researcher Joshua Tabak, a graduate student in psychology, is not the first one to investigate the fable of the gaydar. “We may be doing this so efficiently that we may not even have to try to make this judgment,” Tabak told LiveScience.
According to reports, what earlier studies had not done was to tease out how people make these snap sexuality judgments. They might base it on individual facial features — nose or eyes — or they might look at how the features fit together in the face, such as how far apart the eyes are. It could even be some combination of both.
We all have tried to guess about someone’s sexuality. Just because we attempt to ponder does not mean we are totally correct all of the time. Like the old adage, never judge a book by it’s cover- or eyes.