Detection of Sexual Orientation ("Gaydar") by Homosexual and Heterosexual Women

Lyons, Minna, Lynch, Aoife, Brewer, Gayle orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0690-4548 and Bruno, Davide (2013) Detection of Sexual Orientation ("Gaydar") by Homosexual and Heterosexual Women. Archives of Sexual Behavior . ISSN 0004-0002

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Although there has been considerable research investigating the ability to identify sexual orientation from static images, or‘‘gaydar,’’few studies have considered the
role of female sexual orientation or sexual interest (for example, sociosexual orientation) in judgment accuracy. In two studies, we investigated the sexuality detection ability, and masculinity and femininity as cues used injudgment. In Study 1, we recruited heterosexual (N=55) and homosexual (N=71) women to rate the sexual orientation of homosexual and heterosexual male and female targets (N=80: 20 heterosexual men, 20 homosexualmen,20 heterosexualwomen,and 20 homosexual women). We found that detection accuracy was better than chance levels for both male and female targets and that male targets were more likely to be falsely labeled as homosexual than female targets were. Overall, female faces were more accurately identified as heterosexual or homosexual than male faces and homosexual female raters were biased towards labeling targets as homosexual. Sociosexuality did not influence the accuracy with which targets were identified as heterosexual or homosexual. In Study 2, 100 heterosexual and 20 homosexualwomen rated the stimulus for masculinity and femininity.Heterosexualwomenwere rated asmore feminine and less masculine than homosexual women and homosexual men were rated as more feminine and less masculine than heterosexualmen. Sexual orientation of the judges did not affect the ratings.Theresultswere discussedwithareferenceto
evolutionary and cultural influences affecting sexualorientation judgment accuracy.

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