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MANILA, Philippines – The concept of the “gaydar” is now backed by science, after two US psychologists found that indeed, people can have the ability to detect a person’s sexual orientation in literally a blink of an eye.
The study, published in the open-access online journal PLoS Online, suggests that people can “unconsciously make gay and straight distinctions.”
In the study, authored by Joshua Tabak and Vivian Zayas, 129 college students were asked to identify 96 photos of men and women who are either gay or straight.
The study found out it was easier to spot lesbians, with the participants able to spot one with 65% accuracy. Even with the photos upside down, the correct identification was at 61% accuracy.
On the other hand, the participants had some difficulty identifying gay men in the gallery, with 57% accuracy. It slipped to 53% when the faces were upside down.
The study found out, the difference in the accuracy of guessing between men and women was due to the higher level of “false alarms” in distinguishing gay men from straight men.
The participants were also quick to judge, literally: With the photos upside-down, they were able to judge sexual orientation within 50 milliseconds — less than a blink of an eye.
Not all people, however, possess a “gaydar,” the study added. There’s always a “small number of people with no ability to distinguish gay and straight faces.”
With the participants limited to college students only, Tabak said age and culture, as well as interaction with gay people, can also be a factor in a person’s ability to make gay-vs-straight judgments.
“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,” lead author Tabak was quoted as saying in a press release. – Rappler.com
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