We can identify a person’s sexual orientation faster than we can blink, according to University of Toronto researchers who say that yes, “gaydar” is real.
And they say conservatives are better at it than liberals, The Toronto Star reports:
Facial “gaydar” is 65-per-cent accurate on average, according to [psychologist Nicholas] Rule and his co-researchers at U of T’s Social Perception & Cognition Laboratory. These judgments can be reliably made based on the eyes alone, though facial shape and texture are also big factors.
“Conservatives are more accurate than liberals in making these judgments when they study a face, because conservatives are more likely to use stereotypes,” Rule said. “Of course, stereotypes are often wrong, but they do have what we call kernels of truth. Liberals tend to not want to use stereotypes in making judgments, and it impairs their accuracy.”
Rule uses photos of people, both men and women, who self-identify as either gay or straight (while recognizing these are only two of many sexual identities), and uses only faces without “adornments” — facial hair, glasses, piercings and other factors that could skew the results. In a typical experiment, the images are shown in various forms to participants along with a series of questions tailored to the research goal.
This research got a boost after Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe revealed he’s gay, which apparently shocked his parents but no one else.
Read the full story here.
IMAGES: Scott Schiller/Flickr, Christopher Michel/Flickr